Developing Māori leaders in an emerging market on their own land

New Zealand Manuka Group is a medium-sized Whakatāne-based primary industry business operating in partnership with Māori land owners in the Bay of Plenty to produce manuka oil straight from manuka trees being grown on Māori owned land.

Published: Wednesday, 27 June 2018 | Rāapa, 27 Pipiri, 2018

Nine cadets are being developed and trained in how to grow and harvest manuka oil through the New Zealand Manuka Group cadetship programme.

Each cadet is a trustee of the Māori land being utilised to grow the manuka trees that will be processed to produce the valuable manuka oil which is sold all over the world.

"We wanted to make sure cadets came from local whānau," said Jerome Brosnahan, Chief Operation Officer NZMG.

The Bay of Plenty region has the second highest unemployment rate in New Zealand at 7.5% due to a 2.9% increase from the previous year (HLFS, March 2017).

The NZMG cadetship programme provides an employment opportunity but cadets are receiving much more.

NZMG removed some barriers being faced by cadets that included providing transport to work and supplying costly needed equipment.

Cadets receive mentoring support and are studying towards an apiculture or horticulture NZQA qualification.

Cadets are being exposed to the science inputs of the business and visiting other sites to gain a wider understanding of how their part fits within the bigger picture.

"We are investing in our cadets to achieve long-term outcomes," explains Dona Niethammer, HR Manager NZMG.

"If, at the end of the cadetship programme permanent employment isn't possible, cadets will leave with highly desired skills transferrable to other primary industry roles."