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Manuka Honey expert Dr. Peter Molan dies

'His honey work was his passion in life,' says Alyson Molan of husband Peter.“His honey work was his passion in life”

This is a great loss for the Manuka Honey industry. The man who uncovered the power of Manuka honey has died. Dr. Peter Molan, “The Father of Manuka Honey,” died on September 16, at the age of 71. Pacific Resources International wants to take the time to remember the “Father of Manuka Honey.”

Dr. Molan started looking into Manuka honey in 1981. Hamilton-based Dr Peter Molan’s research identified honey’s healing powers. He created the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) rating for honey but later set up the Molan Gold Standard. The citation for his 1995 MBE said his work was the “single most important factor” in changing the perceived value of Manuka honey. He “revolutionized the New Zealand honey industry”, said the 2001 citation for his NZ Science and Technology silver medal.

The biochemist’s wife Alyson had nursed him through illness, with help from Hospice Waikato. Alyson was married to Peter for 24 years and initially thought his obsession with manuka honey would pass. Far from it – and she benefited early in their married life when she spilled boiling water over her hand. He just bunged honey all over it, wrapped it up. And the bit that he missed wrapping, it had a huge blister. The rest of my hand was absolutely clear.”

Dr Peter Molan's research 'added substantially to the value' of Kiwi honey, said a citation for a NZ Science and Technology Silver Medal.

“He was kind, he was gentle. He had a good sense of humor. He was a little bit of a workaholic,” Alyson said. “His honey work was his passion in life. It wasn’t only his passion, it was his hobby… That was what he loved to do.”

Peter spent 41 years as a University of Waikato lecturer, retiring in April 2014, and loved working with students, she said. His research also took the Molans to events all over the globe, or brought budding scientists to be hosted at their home. And strong ethical and moral principles saw him take risks to stand up for what he believed, Alyson said.

Manuka Health chief executive Kerry Paul, in a tribute speech at Dr. Molan’s funeral, said he was a “shining knight on a crusade” when it came to companies he considered were selling falsely-labelled Manuka honey.

Since Dr. Molan’s discoveries, Manuka  honey has been used to help many including diabetics and people with hard-to-heal infected wounds. “Not many people can look back on their lives and claim to have started a whole industry,” Paul said.

But after winning a KuDos lifetime achievement award in 2013 Dr. Molan said he didn’t actually like the Manuka taste. “The only time I ever eat it is if I’ve got a sore stomach.” Dr. Peter Molan will always be remembered and honored in the Manuka Honey industry.

Read more: Stuff.co.nz

Filed under: News Tagged: Dr. Peter Molan, manuka honey

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