Sumary of New Zealand and Australia prepare to do battle (again) over treasured and lucrative Mānuka honey:
- The legend, and the Māori relationship to Mānuka, has become an important tool in a global battle to protect Aotearoa New Zealand’s Mānuka honey brand, the most bitter part of which is between New Zealand and Australia.
- The lucrative honey is produced from bees feeding on the pollen of the Leptospermum scoparium plant, native to both Australia and New Zealand, and is famed for its anti-bacterial properties.
- In New Zealand, it is called Mānuka, in Australia, it is more commonly known as Tea Tree, but the word Manuka (without a macron, which is used to indicate a long vowel) has been in common use in Tasmania for at least 100 years.
- Its value and the global demand has led to a spate of crimes in New Zealand, with reports of hive thefts, covert poisonings and fights between beekeepers over land use.
- Australian apiarists are worried they will no longer be able to produce very lucrative Manuka honey.
- Photograph: Gregory Plesse/AFP/Getty ImagesA fight over who can claim the name Mānuka has also now been rumbling for years between Australia and New Zealand, with the latest face-off fast approaching.