Trans-Tasman Manuka Honey Brand War Goes Back to Court | Liverpool City Champion
Australian Manuka producers are back in court determined to win a bitter trans-Tasman battle raging to prevent New Zealand from filing the name of the lucrative honey famous for its healing properties.
It comes after the New Zealand Manuka Honey Naming Society registered the name about five years ago. The battle lines were drawn after the Australian Manuka Honey Association filed an objection arguing that the Kiwis could not claim a plant.
Australia and New Zealand both have multi-million dollar export industries on hold following legal proceedings that will take place over the next few days.
Manuka honey is produced by bees which feed on the pollen of the Leptospermum scoparium plant native to both countries.
Lindsay Bourke, an award-winning master beekeeper from Tasmania who is a member of the Australian Manuka Honey Association, said in Tassie that the word Manuka (written without the macron used in New Zealand to represent a long vowel) has been in use for over 100 years.
Mr Bourke said the legal team arguing the Australian case had 500 pages of evidence to present during the three-day hearing in New Zealand.
“They claim to have the only Manuka in the world, trying to prevent us from selling it in overseas markets,” Mr. Bourke said.
“Worse than that, an Australian producer has just registered his Australian Manuka trade name, and New Zealand is against it.
Mr Bourke said it was crucial not to lose the legal battle for domestic Manuka growers, including his fellow Tasmanian growers.
“This is essential for us because we are large producers of the original Manuka honey Leptospermum scoparium, the only variety New Zealand has. We have many varieties of Manuka, and some of ours are much more active and more precious, ”he said.
“We have to win because we had Manuka honey long before the New Zealanders.”
Mr Bourke said Australia and New Zealand were the only countries producing Manuka honey.
He said Australia had hoped to work with New Zealand, but New Zealand declined Australia’s invitation to collaborate.
“The whole world wants as much Manuka honey as they can get, and we should be working together, not against each other,” he said.
A result of the court ruling is likely to take months.