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Honey hub launched

Manuka Health New Zealand CEO John Kippenberger, left, Minister for Food Safety David Bennett, Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott and Carterton Mayor John Booth enjoying the honey tasting. PHOTO/ CHELSEA BOYLE

By Chelsea Boyle

[email protected]

Rural Carterton’s $3.5 million Wairarapa Apiculture Centre had its day in the sun on Monday, with scores of people turning up for its official opening.

The centre, nestled on Francis Line, will extract honey from the entire north island for Manuka Health New Zealand.

It is expected to significantly expand the company’s export capacity which in turn will open job opportunities for local people from 25 to 40 in the coming years.

Manuka Health chief executive John Kippenberger said the centre’s expansion was an important milestone in the company’s growth.

“The capital investment in the centre’s build facilitates a substantial expansion in honey extraction capability,” he said.

“This is another step in our journey to help New Zealand meet its $1.2 billion target of honey sales by 2028.”

During the opening, Mr Kippenberger planted the last of the site’s 2000 native trees alongside Minister for Food Safety David Bennett – a symbolic nod to their belief the manuka industry will continue to grow.

“The 2000 native trees embody what we are about,” Mr Kippenberger said.

It was all about nature and making honey in some of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand, he added.

Leading a tour around the immaculate site, Wairarapa Bee Products centre manager Tina Craig said making manuka honey was “hard work” for the bees.

In the delivery bay, the hives arrive tightly wrapped, a measure taken to dissuade bees who would rather steal the honey than make more.

In the adjacent storage room, there is a lure in the corner that uses a combination of pheromones and light to draw out any straggler bees so they can be rehomed.

Towards the end of the tour guests, including Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott, Carterton Mayor John Booth and Carterton District Council chief executive Jane Davis, participated in honey tasting.

Ms Davis said the centre was a “fantastic” development for Carterton.

It was a great example of what provincial New Zealand could offer people, she said.

And a step in the right direction as “New Zealand needs to add value to primary production”.

The centre’s expansion comes on the back of a new $10 million manufacturing facility in Te Awamutu, which will handle the bottling, quality testing and distribution of the honey.






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