July 04, 2023
Hapu looks to extract gold from kanuka
The Government is putting $1.9 million into a project to turn kānuka into high-value gourmet products.
A group from Whareponga southeast of Ruatōria is at Auckland University this week learning about how they could scale up the laboratory-scale technology developed to extract juice from kanuka, which can be used as a liquid smoke food additive or an ingredient in the nutraceutical industry.
Māori entrepreneurship lecturer Kiri Dell from Nuka Charitable Trust, which is leading the project, says it’s a way to use existing vegetation around her home area rather than converting the land to manuka for honey production.
It could eventually create about 15 skilled jobs and bring much-needed income into the region.
“We could do some environment restoration stuff, help rangatahi realise their ambitions and dreams. It brings our community closer to the research and science and innovation system. So just so much layers of value being created by this project,” Dr Dell says.
Dr Dell says the kanuka project will bring the people of Whareponga closer to the whenua and maintains their intimate relationship with nga rākau Māori.