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Australian Vs. New Zealand Manuka

Australian Vs. New Zealand Manuka

PRI Team
3 minute read

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What is the difference?

The quick: 

Manuka was discovered in New Zealand and thought to occur only in NZ until much more recently. We now know Australia is host to over 80 species of Leptospermum, including the same plant - Leptospermum Scoparium - as is found in NZ. Because of this variety, along with other types of flora, Australian Manuka honey has a different flavor and color profile & is less likely to crystallize. Many prefer the taste of this Manuka. It also tends to be lower cost due to several factors. Read on if you want, not just the quick….. but also…

The dirty:

If you were to Google “Australia Vs. New Zealand,” you’d see many posts about which country is better to visit, which place to live, and a lot of information about their longstanding cricket & rugby rivalries.  What you won’t find much about is what we consider it’s most interesting & dare we say, dramatic rivalry, Manuka honey! 

Many might liken this not-so-friendly competition to the plight of Champagne, France, and America’s favorite celebratory tipple, champagne. Still, this story goes far beyond names & geography, reaching straight into the realm of the gods.

The Manuka plant is the stuff of  Maori legend, a child of the gods - Tane Mahuta and Tawake-toro- and placed under the care of the Maori people, a treasure they must protect. 

Due to this rich cultural history and the economic importance of Manuka honey in NZ, the NZ government has created stricter rules relating to the testing, labeling, and export of it. The NZ agency, MPI, adds their objection to "Australian Manuka" that not all species of Manuka are the same. MPI worries there could be consumer confusion and  fake or low-strength, falsely labeled Manuka flooding the market of non New Zealand Manuka honey. It is also essential to honor the Maori people and their language, beliefs, and history, which gives extra meaning even to the word “ Manuka.” 

While Australia does not currently have the same cultural heritage with Manuka or  restrictions/requirements on Manuka honey it is also important to note that, no matter what they end up calling Manuka from Australia,, the plant holds the same benefits. Finding other sources of this fantastic medicinal compound will create more opportunities in the communities where it is being produced, tested, and jarred.

As a consumer, the critical factor to note is that any Manuka honey you purchase should have the active ingredient, MGO, level on the jar & accessible test results. 

Both our Australian & New Zealand Manuka lines at PRI meet the NZ MPI’s requirements. You can see test results for both lines via the QR code on our jar lids, so no matter which country your honey comes from, you know you are getting the real deal.

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