Strong interest in Manuka leads to new appointments

Strong interest in the establishment of Mānuka Plantations on farmland has seen Mānuka Farming New Zealand (MFNZ) announce key appointments and promotions.

MFNZ has appointed Maggie Olsen to the role of Plantation and Apiary Performance. This follows last year’s appointment of Stephen Lee as Chief Executive Officer and Bronwyn Douglas as Client Relationship Manager. The company will also appoint a Forestry Consultant within the next month.

MFNZ, in partnership with Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand) recently offered 1.8 million free Mānuka seedlings for Free, an offer that was oversubscribed by 300 percent with applications totaling 6.4 million seedlings.

MFNZ now has access to the widest range of Manuka seedlings in New Zealand, including exclusive access to hybrid Mānuka seedlings. Mr Lee said the expanded team ensures landowners now have access to the best plants and people when establishing manuka plantations for honey.

Ms Olsen has previously held a lead role in the science and research development of the Ministry of Primary Industry led initiative Mānuka Research Partnership (MRPL) which started in 2011.

Ms Olsen’s role was to research and monitor the performance of the mānuka trial sites established across the country.

In her new position Ms Olsen will support land owners planting high performance mānuka plantations as well as continuing to work with research partners, and universities to develop new, applicable research in the industry of plantation mānuka honey.

“I will have a direct pipeline to landowners and will be able to help them make the right decisions, based on science and the performance of Manuka at the trial sites. My goal is to turn New Zealand into the land of honey and milk.”

She holds a BSc in Environmental Science and Conservation Biology from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and a MSc in Ecology from the University of Canterbury.

“I’m really excited about the new role. A big driver for me has been the environment and Mānuka plantations is a new agri-forest industry with an environmental focus as well, which is great for New Zealand.”

Mr Lee was previously MFNZ’s Commercial Manager. He says the team is now well equipped to support landowners across all areas in the establishment and production of high quality mānuka.

“We have high quality seedlings that we can match with the growing conditions as well as the know-how and expertise to assist landowners improve financial returns and improve the overall performance of their land,” he said.