Australian versus New Zealand Manukas

The back story on the two honeys and the buzz on the IP issues that are happening now  around use of the word “manuka”.

There are some important similarities and some clear differences between manuka honeys from these two countries.

* Both Manuka honeys are sourced from Leptospermum plants. New Zealand has Leptospermum scoparium and Australia has 83+ types of Leptospermum plants including L.scoparium

* Only about a third of the 83+ species of Australian Leptospermum plants are used by honey bees to produce a manuka honey that contains the naturally occurring phenolic MGO (methylglyoxal) responsible for the honey’s antibiotic activity and healing qualities

*  Levels of MGO in manuka honeys are rated after harvest and generally again at packing time.  The UMF (Unique  Manuka Factor) ratings on New Zealand Manuka Honey are measured by exactly the same laboratory tests as Australia’s NPA rating (Non Peroxide Activity) and these measurements of potency use the same scaling. Check out our Rating Table …

*Because of the diversity of Leptospermum species in Australia you can expect Australian Manuka honeys to vary in taste and consistency depending on the season and type of manuka plant that our bees have foraged on. 

* As with a fine wine, the taste of the season and the season's sunshine flows through into the Australian Manuka honeys – we call this the “gout de terroir”, the taste of the season.

* We do not cream our honeys nor seed them with other fine crystal honey to prevent crystallization. 

* In New Zealand Manuka honeys are intended to come to market as consistent in taste and texture from batch to batch, harvest to harvest. The honeys are often seeded with clover honey so they remain fine grained and are lightly creamed at low temperatures to ensure the rich caramelly appearance these honeys are renowned for. The consistent taste also derives from New Zealand honey bees foraging on only one type of Leptospermum and with little other competing blossoms being out during the manuka flowering season the bees re not tempted to bring in other nectar flavours.

*  Australian Manuka season can stretch from late winter through spring and summer to early autumn as blossoming rolls from one species of Leptospermum to another.  There are often other flowers available for bees to forage on and so Australian Manuka honeys, whilst predominantly manuka based, will have delightful overtones from other nectar sources.  So our authentic uncreamed Australian Manuka honey is not cloudy; it’s clear, thick and sometimes jellied.  It ranges in colour from a light gold to a deep rich amber honey, in flavour from a light sweet early season honey to a dark full bodied late summer taste. 

* Enjoy the diverse “gout de terroir” of the Australian bush in these Australian Manukas.

Both country’s beekeepers produce great and potent manuka honeys for you to explore and enjoy. However, there is a legal wrangle going on at present over Australia’s use of the word “manuka”.

In early 2017 New Zealand honey industry interests launched an international legal action to establish genuine Manuka honey as sourced only from New Zealand and as  only derived from the much researched Leptospermum scoparium plant nectars.

Whilst respecting the huge amount of research and development that New Zealand has put into their Manuka honey industry over the last 15 years, the Australian Manuka  honey beekeepers and packers were alarmed at the impending threat to their own  businesses.

A dedicated group of honey industry people (beekeepers, honey scientists, apiarist organisations, honey packers) including some of the largest and most influential honey companies in Australia recognised the need for a national, collective approach to counteract the trademark application emanating from some New Zealand producers  After a meeting in Melbourne in September 2017, the Australian Manuka Honey Association was born to defend against the NZ claims and to progress the  international standing of Australian Manuka honeys, increase their credibility and to build cohesion in the Australian industry.

The AMHA has received both widespread industry and government support for its aims.
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Meanwhile, By Buzzz is spruking for co-operation across “the ditch” between the Australian and the New Zealand beekeeping industries.  We hope that eventuates soon.