collective wisdom: our honey heads to china

The HUI Māori Collective launched this month during the China International Import Expo in Shanghai. The Collective represents 11 Māori owned food and beverage brands, bringing New Zealand produce to Chinese consumers. And The True Honey Co. is thrilled to bits to be a part of it.

Now there are all sorts of good things winging their way to China. From Mānuka honey to dried fruit, fine wine and more. At the press conference to mark the launch, everyone got to taste the wine and food products, savouring some of the best artisanal produce New Zealand has to offer.

Hon David Parker, New Zealand Minister of Trade and Economic Development said of the Collective “The concept of HUI’s reputation is based on honesty, not only to treat people with integrity, but also to treat New Zealand’s products with integrity.”

For The true Honey Co. being part of HUI is a chance for us all to learn, grow and benefit from our collective wisdom, energy and resources.

HUI has the meaning of gathering and sharing together in both Maori and Chinese. The ‘U’ image in the middle of the trademark represents the hand-made food basket of Maori. The name demonstrates the similar values of the two cultures, and hope to deepen their ties. Local companies join together to create the best quality New Zealand food and beverages. Rather than being competitors we regard each other as a member of a big family.

The Collective is supported by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, AsureQuality, NZ Post, Auckland Airport, Te Puni Kōkiri and Poutama Trust. Local produce will now reach China through the official flagship store of the Alibaba Group’s TMall. Now Chinese customers can order online, then NZ Post will package it up and send it from its Auckland Airport warehouse directly to China in a partnership with China Post.

As the first co-brand exporter, HUI is part of the Food Trust Framework. It means Chinese consumers can be confident that their goods come directly from New Zealand and the authenticated Māori producers in the collective. For exporters like The True Honey Co., the framework means honey lovers across the globe can trust that our high MGO rated Mānuka honeys are exactly what they say on the jar.

Our COO Adrian Barr is excited about what the future holds. “Across the Collective, we share a passion to create great produce and bring it to the world. In the future, we want to widen the net and help more producers share their products on a global stage. Some members can’t get involved because of supply chain issues, but distributing from China will make that easier.”

The FernMark is more proof of authenticity for HUI – and we’re proud to include it on our packaging. It verifies that products are grown or made or designed in New Zealand by upstanding New Zealand companies.

“AsureQuality has audited our supply chain for transparency. So honey lovers all over the world can now see the FernMark and AsureQuality mark and know that they’re getting the real deal,” says Adrian.

Adds Adrian, “The True Honey Co. has strong relationships with other companies in Northland. For us it’s about strengthening our bonds with Northland Iwi groups, Māori honey producers and landowner partners. Iwi groups and small companies couldn’t afford to have a shop at TMall on their own. But together, and with government support, we can share the cost and get noticed in China.”

“Chinese honey lovers are very well educated in Mānuka honey. They understand the products and the lifestyle properties they’re looking for from an authentic, trusted New Zealand Mānuka honey. And they want to connect with growers and makers.”