Mānuka Open Day to explore options for marginal landowners

Evan and Roseanne Parkes’ farm in Taumarunui will host a Mānuka Open Day this Thursday afternoon, allowing for interested marginal landowners to hear about  sustainable land use options, technical advice and funding options to get them started.

Identified as an under-used resource in Accelerate25’s Manawatu-Whanganui Economic Action Plan, Mānuka honey provides landowners with a profitable, sustainable, and resilient opportunity for their class 6 and 7 hill country.

Horizons Regional Council environmental management land advisor Sarah Nicholson says it is estimated that there is 100,000 hectares of land in the Region suited to Mānuka planting and harvesting for honey production.

“Mānuka afforestation is a viable option for landowners with erodible land that is unsuitable for traditional timber forestry due to terrain and harvesting access,” says Mrs Nicholson.

“Non-regulatory initiatives, such as Horizons’ Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI), assist landowners with Whole Farm Plans, soil mapping, and pole planting.

“Mānuka afforestation is an extension of this work. In addition to protecting vulnerable land from erosion and improving water quality, it can provide the landowner with potential returns.”

At the Open Day, Mrs Nicholson will share technical advice and discuss site selection, as well as subsidies and grants that are available to marginal landowners wishing to explore options.

Stu Orme from Woodnet will also be on hand to discuss the economics of planting Mānuka, the Emissions Trading Scheme, different types of Mānuka, and other land use options.

Hosts, Evan and Roseanne Parkes, have already used an Afforestation Grant from Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) on their property. They will discuss their experience, what has worked for them, and what they plan to do next.

Parkes’ farm will be open from 1-4.30pm with the event being held at Larson’s Yards, 3.5km up Waitewhena Road from the Ohura Road turn off.