All About the Manuka Tree: The Origin of Manuka Honey

05 July 2024

The Mānuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium) is an incredible native plant that holds a special place in the heart of New Zealanders and has gained global recognition for its unique properties. In the pristine landscapes of New Zealand, the Mānuka tea tree thrives, undeterred by the occasionally challenging climate. Its indigenous habitats span from the furthest point north on the North Island to the South Island, encompassing diverse microclimates and geographical features.

Deriving from the Mānuka tree is genuine mānuka honey, a globally loved honey variety sought after for its rare and distinctive flavour profile. In this article, we will explore the Mānuka tree, exploring its origins, characteristics, and the journey that led to the creation of the renowned Mānuka honey.


The History of the Manuka Tree

Origins and Distribution of Pure Manuka Honey:

The Mānuka tree, indigenous to New Zealand, is an evergreen shrub or small tree that thrives in diverse landscapes, from coastal to mountainous regions. Its scientific name, Leptospermum scoparium, highlights its slender and twisted branches, covered with small leaves and white or pink flowers. The Mānuka tree is not only an integral part of New Zealand's ecosystems but also plays an important role in Māori culture and history.

Cultural Significance of New Zealand Manuka Honey:

For the Māori people, the Mānuka tree holds deep cultural and spiritual importance. Its wood was traditionally used for carving, and its leaves were utilised for medicinal purposes. Māori would historically use various parts of the Mānuka tree and Mānuka honey to promote overall well-being. The Mānuka tree is interwoven into the fabric of Māori traditions, symbolising strength, resilience, and the interconnectedness of nature and culture.

Why Genuine Manuka Honey is So Popular 

Manuka Honey Basics:

Mānuka honey is a distinct and sought-after honey variety produced by bees pollinating the Mānuka tree's flowers. What sets it apart is its unique composition and flavour profile. Pure Mānuka honey is renowned for its rich, earthy taste and a hint of herbal sweetness, making it a popular household ingredient for many. 

The Manuka Grading System:

One of the defining features of Mānuka honey is its UMF™ (Unique Mānuka Factor) rating. UMF™ is a globally recognised grading system that considers the potency, authenticity, shelf life and freshness of Mānuka honey. Only UMF™ takes into account all four unique, naturally-occurring components:

Methylglyoxal (MGO)


Dihydroxyacetone (DHA)

Hydroxymethyfurfural (HMF) 

Understanding the UMF™ system is crucial for consumers looking to take advantage of the full benefits of Mānuka honey, as it ensures the authenticity and quality of the product.

The Science Behind UMF™ Mānuka Honey

Methylglyoxal (MGO) Content:

Methylglyoxal, a naturally occurring compound found in genuine mānuka honey, is the key player responsible for its unique properties. Researchers have identified MGO as a major contributor to Mānuka honey's popularity as it can complement general health and well-being. The concentration of MGO varies across different batches of Mānuka honey, contributing to the diverse range of UMF™ ratings.


Harvesting and Production of New Zealand Manuka Honey

Midlands Harvesting Practices:

Harvesting pure Mānuka honey is a balance between preserving the natural environment and meeting the increasing demand for this popular product. Midlands adopt beekeeping practices, such as rotational harvesting and hive management, to ensure the continued health of the Mānuka tree population and the bee colonies responsible for pollination.

Challenges in Mānuka Honey Production:

Despite its popularity, high-quality Mānuka honey production faces challenges related to environmental changes, including climate fluctuations and the impact of human activities. Researchers and beekeepers collaborate to address these challenges, striving to maintain the integrity of Mānuka honey and its source – the Mānuka tree.


High-Quality Manuka Honey Beyond the Jar

 Culinary Uses of New Zealand Mānuka Honey:

Pure Mānuka honey has found its way into kitchens around the world. Chefs and home cooks alike appreciate its unique flavour profile and use it as a gourmet ingredient in a variety of dishes. Mānuka honey adds a distinctive touch to culinary creations, from marinades and dressings to desserts and beverages.


Why Use Midlands Apiaries as Your Pure Manuka Honey Supplier

Midlands Apiaries stands out as your partner for wholesale Mānuka honey for several compelling reasons. Firstly, our commitment to quality is unparalleled. With a legacy of expertise in beekeeping spanning generations, we ensure that every jar of Mānuka honey is sourced from pristine environments and produced with great care. Our quality control measures guarantee that only the finest, purest Mānuka honey reaches our customers, earning Midlands Apiaries a reputation for excellence in the industry.

Moreover, Midlands Apiaries offers premium wholesale Mānuka honey and provides comprehensive support to our partners. From tailored packaging solutions to flexible distribution options, we prioritise the success of our clients every step of the way. By choosing Midlands Apiaries as your wholesale partner, you gain access to a trusted source of authentic Mānuka honey backed by unparalleled expertise and support.


Manuka Honey Retail Ready Brands

In addition to Midlands Apiaries' own premium Mānuka honey, we also offer distribution opportunities for renowned retail-ready brands such as PURITI and Primal By Nature. These brands represent the epitome of quality and authenticity in the Mānuka honey market. 

We believe in keeping things straightforward and honest. PURITI stands out for its remarkable purity and potency, earning the trust of health-conscious individuals worldwide. Primal By Nature is simple yet elegant, dedicated to offering naturally sourced Mānuka honey in glass jars, emphasising excellence and genuineness above all else. Through Midlands Apiaries, these respected brands are set to achieve even greater success, providing consumers access to the finest Mānuka honey. 



​​Johnston, M., McBride, M., Dahiya, D., Owusu-Apenten, R., & Singh Nigam, P. (2018). Antibacterial activity of Manuka honey and its components: An overview. AIMS Microbiology, 4(4), 655–664. https://doi.org/10.3934/microbiol.2018.4.655