50,000 ha of manuka under harvest equals a $1Billion Cooperative

50,000 ha of manuka under harvest equals a $1Billion Cooperative

Mataatua Manuka Cooperative is registered under the NZ Cooperative Companies Act 1996. Founded on Maori protocols (tikanga). the oil from Grower-Producer member manuka & kanuka foliage will produce a range of tikanga compliant health, wellness, skin care & therapeutic products.


It’s an ambitious and worthy goal. To bring 50,000 hectares of manuka & kanuka trees over the next ten years under harvest for oil to support the building a one-billion-dollar primary sector industry co-operative that will create jobs and help rebuild economically marginalized rural communities of Aotearoa/NZ and the Maori whanau that own whenua in these areas.

The co-operative model is “a business format that accords with kaitiakitanga and Tikanga Maori”, according to the community-based, economic enterprise.

As part of its socio-economic “Whanau-on-the-Whenua’, (family on the land) programme, the kaupapa of the cooperative provides for Maori landowners to “move into a position of equitably contracted farm gate payments for product supply, supported by profit-sharing through a Grower-Producer owned and operated Co-Op”.

The Co-Op’s revenue share structure is based on “a contracted Annual Farm Gate Price (AFGP) for both manuka and kanuka, extracted from its Grower-Producer members of which Kohumaru Station in Northland launches the operations. The manuka oil is extracted through a distillation process and will be used in the manufacture of a proprietary skin care and therapeutic products range to be marketed under the “Tribal Manuka Oil” & “177° EAST brands. The enhanced profit flowing from this integrated value-adding, consumer product process will be distributed back to the Co-Op’s Grower-Producer membership base over and above the contracted annual farm gate income.”

Mataatua Manuka Co-Op Ltd 

Grower-Producer manuka foliage farm gate supply.

Manuka Oil Technology Ltd

Grower-Producer harvesting and oil extraction services.

Tribal Manuka Inc (USA)

Oil importation, value added consumer product distribution.

Helping rebuild economically marginalised rural communities is the kaupapa of the Cooperative.

“The large-scale industry consolidations across the primary sector in Aotearoa/NZ over the past 50 years have debased the economy of many farming-centric rural communities across the nation. “From the smallholder through to the larger, multi-ownership land blocks. . . jobs that create income opportunities for elder, retiring Maori returning home to their whenua (land) to enjoy their golden years.” SEE https://mataatua.org/kaupapa.

“Many rural towns and communities in rural Aotearoa are predominantly Maori whose whanau enjoyed steady income from good jobs that supported the local economy but have now seen these communities marginalized by local, primary sector factory closures and the subsequent concentration of an increasingly disproportionate of local economic wealth into the hands of a privileged few operating within a much reduced, capital intensive range of primary sector activity that in all too many communities, has seen contracted foreign labour replace local labour”.

The Co-Ops expanding Grower-Producer membership base also seeks to utilize under-utilized Maori treaty assets to enhance the economic return back into the local community in the form of job, income and profit creation opportunities. This includes providing the affordable housing which is needed under the Whanau-on-the-Whenua program for retiring Maori who come home to their whenua and available to live and work, helping to manage the whanau’s agri-biz.

Utilizing its Grower-Producer, Transacting-Member Shareholder land resources, interfaced within a co-operative operational structure, middle-class rural Maori will help address this ever-increasing societal issue for Maori. The rebuilding of their rural communities through a middle-class economic revival driven by their whenua and its resource taonga.

The Co-Op’s operational launch is focussed on the winterless north of Aotearoa/NZ.

In its application to join Cooperative Business NZ, Mataatua said it was seeking “peer-to-peer mentoring support and guidance in building a successful east coast co-operative to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Sir Apirana Ngata” who founded the 1st Maori landowner Co-Op.


The Co-Op is named after the legendary Mataatua waka that landed “Out East” circa 800 years ago before going “Up North” where Puhi (son of the Mataatua Captain) established the Ngā Puhi tribe. (Image above – the mural in Mataatua House in Opotiki,

As part of its socio-economic “Whanau on the Whenua” program kaupapa, the Mataatua Manuka Cooperative Ltd is pleased to announce that it has entered into its Grower-Producer agreement with well-known Maori landowner and businessman, Eric Lloyd in a deal that sees the delivery of a launch capital deployment base of $6.654M. With his tipuna tracing their whakapapa back to the early migrations to the far north on waka’s such as the eastern BOP’s legendary Mataatua waka, Eric heads up the Kohumaru Manuka Station operations and the planned Kenana Farm oil distillation and macadamia nursery hub initiative developed to support the launch of the social-impact focused Whanau-on-the-Whenua program “Up-North” in tandem with the manuka seedling project that will support the expansion kaupapa of the Co-Op.


With a current foliage stock of circa 16,000 tons now available to the Co-Op for harvesting from which it is expected that 48,000 kgs of oil will be extracted, two export focussed operating divisions have been setup. (1) wholesale through an existing global network and (2) value adding with a proprietary branded consumer product line that will be contract formulated and packaged in the USA through a well established Florida based manufacturer for USMCA distribution.


The Co-Ops Maori landowner liaison director and interim Chairman is Jim Wikotu, a kaumatua and Rangatira of the Te Upokorehe Iwi/hapū collective and Maori Lore Court Assessor, (Kutarere Marae). Jim helped develop the 12 STEPS pathway in order to ensure a full and complete understanding of the Co-Ops entry process by landowning whanau. 12 Steps that help ensure that the principles of Tikanga become inculcated as part of the operational ethos of the Mataatua Manuka Cooperative Ltd.