The eastern-most point of New Zealand is home to some of Aotearoa’s most beautiful landscapes, the oldest pohutukawa and a famous lighthouse. It is also where one of Aotearoa’s most unique essential oils is created.
The East Cape of Aotearoa is a mystical place where locals have a centuries-strong cultural and spiritual connection with the land. Approximately 2.5-3 hours from both Gisborne and Whakatane, getting there takes time and patience. However, those who venture are well rewarded with vast, blustery beaches with more seabirds than people, and thick forests with gnarled ancient pohutukawa.
East Cape Mānuka
Mānuka (Leptospermum scoparium, or kahikātoa in Māori) thrives on the East Cape, thanks to the just-right combination of sun, rainfall and soil. It clings tight to the landscape, with strong roots and small evergreen leaves. This is a nurturing, protective tree often used by stock for shelter and to stabilise the hillsides. The flowers, leaves and branches of the mānuka tree are used to make mānuka oil, while the nectar provides honeybees with the means to create mānuka honey.
Mānuka, mānuka honey and mānuka oil have become one of the Cape’s key employers, with mānuka harvested from a combination of wild forests on private land, and carefully tended plantations. The investment and expansion of the mānuka industry has grown from a desire to provide employment options in a region that battles with its isolation.
Sue Pahuru is a Te Araroa local, now heavily involved with East Cape mānuka.
“Mānuka is at the heart of the community. Many families grow and harvest mānuka; it’s a whanau activity - Grandad in his 80’s might be driving the truck while the kids are harvesting before school. By using mānuka, we’re able to use a sustainable natural resource while giving mana back to the land.”
From the East Cape With Love
A lot of love goes into the creation of East Cape mānuka oil. Harvested by whanau, stamped by foot and distilled by hand, the process is hands-on from start to finish. It’s only fitting for an essential oil that is both special and unique. Compared to mānuka samples from around New Zealand, East Cape mānuka showed much higher levels of triketones, which boosts the oils antimicrobial properties. The triketones make mānuka oil a useful tool against infection-causing bacteria and microorganisms and an effective, and natural, addition to any first aid kit.
East Cape mānuka oil is the key active ingredient in ManukaRx’s range of skincare products. With a number of acne-fighting products, natural deodorants and gentle balms, there’s a ManukaRx product for every purpose. ManukaRx is available online or at select health stores throughout New Zealand.