Australian and New Zealand honey producers are caught up in a war of ownership to determine who the word ‘mānuka’ belongs to.
Paul Callander, chairman of the newly formed Australian Manuka Honey Association, spoke to Kawekōrero Reporters and says Australia has a long history with the word mānuka.
“If you look back in the Australian history of the word ‘mānuka’ for places, property and plants it goes back to the 1880’s,” said Callander.
According to Callander, the word ‘mānuka’ comes from Australia and New Zealand.
“It’s found in 12 other languages in different countries around the world,” said Callander.
“I don’t think it’s just a New Zealand word. So to leverage on that market opportunity with the brand is something that we want to be able to do.”
But Victor Goldsmith, General Manager of Ngāti Porou Mīere Limited Partnership, says Callander’s claims are misleading.
“I dispute the fact that the Australians are saying that they have an association with mānuka going back to the 1880s, when we go back centuries,” said Goldsmith.
“As far as I’m concerned ‘mānuka’ is a Māori name. And this is purely about marketing.”
Goldsmith says Māori need to start having conversations about protecting Māori names from being used by big corporations and offshore companies for profit.