3 Mar 2010

Plans for manuka honey production on Maori land

6:02 am on 3 March 2010

Some Maori landowners in the Far North are starting to replace pine trees with manuka plants as they look to develop a new industry for the region based on high value manuka honey.

A bee-keeping school has started up in Kaitaia to train people so they can set up apiary enterprises on tribal land.

Local iwi Rununga o te Rarawa, which is a partner in the school, is working with the Northland Enterprise Board and honey company Watson and Son on plans for the honey production from manuka.

Referring to manuka, rununga chairman Haami Piripi said what used to be the farmer's enemy "has now become the Maori's friend."

Mr Piripi says quality and consistency of supply need to be ensured.