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Manuka Honey – By any other name, is it so sweet?

Manuka Honey – By any other name, is it so sweet?


The current controversy surrounding the trademark and protection of the name “Manuka” honey has again highlighted concerns that Māori have continued to express regarding the treatment and protection of our Taonga.

The WAI262 claim to the Waitangi Tribunal was for recognition and protection of the cultural and intellectual heritage rights in relation to indigenous flora and fauna and Matauranga (traditional knowledge), customs and practices related to that flora and fauna. The recommendations were released in July 2011. Issues regarding intellectual protection of Māori names was one of the areas that was discussed during this hearing. If the Crown had taken action at this point, it is possible that the current issue could have been avoided or mitigated.

It is the economic ‘branding’ through the name “Manuka” that gives this plant its value, alongside its unique healing factors. By virtue of the name “Manuka”, it brands the product as uniquely from Aotearoa/New Zealand. This is a unique competitive advantage that it is in the interests of current landowners, producers, exporters and all New Zealanders to protect.

The Iwi Chairs Forum (ICF) support the iwi, hapū and claimants of the WAI262 claim and have sought assurances from the Crown that the outcomes of the WAI262 claim will not be extinguished through enacting the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Statement made by Ngahiwi Tomoana, on behalf of the Iwi Chairs Forum

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