Twenty years ago the manuka covering our whenua was regarded by many as an impediment to our development, a blight to be eradicated from our economic landscape. However today Ngati Porou land owners could potentially be sitting on a valuable resource, as the business world realises there’s money to be made in honey.
A series of hui to discuss opportunities in the Manuka honey industry for Ngati Porou landowners, trusts and incorporations is being called by Ngati Porou Holding Company (NPHoldco) later this month. NPHold Co, the commercial subsidiary of Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou, was established in 2012 to manage and grow Ngati Porou’s collective assets which are estimated to be worth approximately $200 million.
Growing the economy of Ngati Porou is a strategic imperative for the company, and participation in the growing Manuka honey industry is an investment initiative they want to pursue in collaboration with Ngati Porou landowners. The upcoming hui provides a forum to share information about this area, and discuss a proposal for the establishment of a Ngati Porou Miere Collective.
Matanuku Mahuika, the Chair of NP Holdco says the formation of a Collective will provide a vehicle to capitalise on Ngati Porou’s two greatest resources – our whenua and our people. “Over the past two years we have been actively investigating opportunities to invest in the development of the Ngati Porou regional economy, alongside our current fishing, forestry and farming operations. The Manuka honey industry has been identified as a sector where we think we can add value by hopefully assist in further unlocking the economic potential of our Ngati Porou land base.”
“There is a huge demand, particularly in Asia, for Manuka honey and oils. The major commercial New Zealand honey companies have recognised this demand and the potential the East Coast region has to supply high quality Manuka honey products. The whakaaro behind the Ngati Porou Miere Collective is for Ngati Porou to take a greater stake in this sector by working together as a Collective. We have more strength by acting together. We will also be better positioned to participate further up the value chain, which has the potential to provide better returns for our landowners and more opportunities for Ngati Porou people.”
The presentation of a pilot project NPHoldco undertook recently will be amongst the agenda items discussed at the Hui. During the summer the company worked with a small number of Ngati Porou landowners and beekeepers on a Miere project. The objective of the exercise was to gather data about the productive capacity of the Manuka honey resource, and use this as base line information to inform larger scale collaboration. The role of the Ngati Porou bee-keeping community within the collective and the feasibility of growing Manuka plantations on marginal land will also be discussed at the hui.
The first of the three meetings will be held in Tikitiki on Tuesday the 24th of March, followed by hui in Ruatoria and Tokomaru Bay over the next two evenings. Representatives from Ngati Porou Holding Company and Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou will be on hand at each hui to lead the discussion and answer any questions.
Victor Goldsmith, the Project Director for the Miere Coalition (a national Maori honey Industry group) will also be delivering a presentation about opportunities for Maori in this sector. At the end of last year the Miere Coalition led a delegation of Maori bee-keepers, landowners, entrepreneurs and investors to China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan to better understand the consumer demands and market opportunities of the Asian market.
The hui will be held on the following dates:
- Wednesday, 25 March, 5.30pm- 7.30pm, Kariaka (Ngati Porou) marae , Ruatoria.
- Thursday, 26 March, 5.30pm-7.30pm, Pakirikiri Marae, Tokomaru Bay.
(Please note the hui originally scheduled for Tuesday 24th of March at Rahui marae in Tikitiki will now not take place due to a tangihanga taking precedence. Ngati Porou landowners who were planning to attend this hui are instead invited to attend the Ruatoria hui. A hui may be resheduled for Tikitiki at a later date.)
For more information or to RSVP please contact Allan Jensen at Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou
Tel: 06 867 9960, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org