Topic: Business

FOMA disagrees with Australia's claim to Mānuka Honey trademark

By Talisa Kupenga

Federation of Māori Authority's (FOMA) Chairwoman Traci Houpapa says Māori need to be at the table when it comes to discussions and definitions around Mānuka honey. This follows news that Australian honey makers will fight UK authorities for granting the trademark for Mānuka honey exclusively to New Zealand.

Houpapa disagrees with Australia's claim to the Mānuka Honey trademark.

"Mānuka is a Māori word and Mānuka is kaupapa Māori. The UK trademark is very clear that the genus grown in New Zealand should be termed and deemed Mānuka. We recognise what Australia is saying but we don't agree with that."

Houpapa understands the scientific definition of Mānuka was yet to be officially tested and independently reviewed. She says FOMA has concerns around time frames for transition as this would severely affect Māori Mānuka producers.

"The economic impact of that definition and the conversation that's been had largely around Mānuka has a potential impact of around $80-million to $100-million and we're concerned about that. We recognise that FOMA and other industry partners like the Mīere Working Group need to be at the table with the UMF Association along with Apiculture NZ and Government to talk through these issues."

She says the Mānuka trademark scenario shows why Māori need to be at the table for these discussions when it comes to the global market.

The Australian Mānuka Honey Association says Australia has around 80 Mānuka species and Mānuka honey had been produced there since the 1800s.