NZ Manuka Group investing for growth in Bay

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The NZ Manuka team at Opotiki.
The NZ Manuka team at Opotiki.

NZ Manuka Group is investing for growth and adding staff in its Opotiki and Bay of Plenty operations.

The company now has about 100 people in its team in the Bay. Management is based at its Awakeri honey packing plant while the manuka oil and honey extraction, and agar and bio-media production from pterocladia seaweed, is handled at Opotiki.

NZ Manuka chief executive Karl Gradon affirmed the company's confidence in the local community.

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"In the past year alone our top-line revenue has almost doubled and we are now looking to employ 29 new staff by 2017 to support this growth," he said.

Group general manager operations and logistics Robin Jay said the company had recently invested in a new honey extraction plant.

"Our stage one building is capable of handling and processing up to 30,000 hives per year, while our stage two building is expected to add a further 1300sq m to our operations base in Opotiki."

NZ Manuka said it was committed to the region and had contracted Bay of Plenty companies for the main building work.

"We are dedicated to building a future based in the East Cape region," Mr Jay said.

"Our extraction facilities are now being centralised so all honey produced from East Cape hives is processed in Opotiki, and our Whangaparaoa site is being developed into a dedicated beekeeping base."

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NZ Manuka was established in 2011 by Phil Caskey in partnership with local iwi landowners. Mr Caskey is a pioneer in the manuka honey industry and remains a key shareholder but has moved to a new role driving strategic growth projects.

Mr Gradon said: "Phil is focusing his attention on our strategic growth projects and is continuing to be an industry champion for fair distribution of wealth back to the landowners of manuka blocks."

More than 90 per cent of product is exported, with China and Australia the two largest markets.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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