High UMF mānuka varieties are being sourced and planted at a number of locations around the country to support honey production. These particular varieties have been bred from plants sourced from only a few areas in New Zealand (Northland, Coromandel, and the Waikato, for example).
More than one species?
Mānuka is common throughout New Zealand in lowland and low alpine regions and is found growing in many different habitats. Despite looking similar, recent research suggests that there could be quite a number of distinct species of mānuka, each adapted to different conditions.
For this reason the National Trust has adopted a precautionary approach regarding high UMF mānuka plantings in covenants for honey production. It will not approve the introduction of mānuka from outside its ecological district.
We will review this position after more taxonomic and ecological research has been done to understand the species and we know whether or not high UMF plantations are likely to impact on genetic diversity and ecosystem health generally.
Applications to plant high UMF mānuka in covenants for honey production
The National Trust will consider applications to plant ecosourced high UMF mānuka for honey production on a case-by-case basis. Approval to plant will be based on best practice guidelines for restoration plantings, and whether the purposes, objectives, and values of the covenant will be compromised.