The Manuka Essentials Vision

Photo of manuka by the coast


The solutions to some of our most pressing challenges can often be found in nature. Manuka Essentials was established at the beginning of 2018 with a vision of returning a large amount New Zealand’s countryside back to native forest.

I spent a few years driving around the country as a sales rep. In the beginning, I thought that our vast fields of grassland were beautiful and pristine. However, after a while, I realized that New Zealand used to be covered in native forest. This forest nourished the land, cleansed our waterways and supported a diverse range of life.

- Callum Armstrong, Founder of Manuka Essentials


Over the past 1000 years, forest cover in New Zealand has reduced from more than 80% of our land mass to roughly 31% today. We have chopped down forests throughout the country to make way for modern methods of cultivation. Although this has helped to create a prosperous society, it is not necessarily the best for our ecosystems and environment.

With major global shifts in our climate and biodiversity, now is the time to act to ensure that we have a prosperous future.

We sincerely believe that if there was a way for farmers and landowners to earn more money from planting native trees (such as mānuka) than any other type of farming, it would result in a large scale shift towards reforestation throughout the country. This would have widespread benefits for our ecosystems, economy, employment and culture.

Traditional Medicine Meets Modern Science



This is where things get interesting...

Before Europeans arrived in New Zealand, Māori used various native plants for a plethora of healing purposes. Scientific studies are now showing that extracts from species such as mānuka offer a wide range of healing properties that can be used in all sorts of applications.

When I discovered the healing powers of mānuka essential oil, it was like a light switch went on. In that moment, I knew what needed to be done.

We are creating great skin and haircare products using mānuka essential oil as a key ingredient, and sharing the story of reforestation to help increase demand for native plants - improve upon existing products in the market and growing the conversation around planting trees here in New Zealand and further afield.


Why Mānuka?

Manuka and farmland near the coast


Otherwise known as a seral species, mānuka is one of the first plants to grow in a regenerating native forest. It quickly establishes deep and flexible root systems that bind soil, help to clean waterways and creates a nursery environment which supports the successful growth of other native species.

Mānuka-dominant vegetation provides habitat for a diverse range of plants, fungi, and animals, particularly invertebrates (moths, beetles, millipedes, spiders, snails, etc.). Research has shown that the significance and diversity of the invertebrates in 60-year-old kānuka forest is as great as that in primary forest.

- The Mānuka & Kānuka Plantation Guide


Extracts from mānuka (such as essential oils, honey, tea and distillates) are powerful healers - offering extreme antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory benefits and more.

To find out more about these extraordinary plants and the products that are made from them, check out our knowledge base.

Here’s to a Brighter Future

Image by <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=3339154">ken lecoq</a> from <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=3339154">Pixabay</a>


Our planet is changing rapidly. The Manuka Essentials vision offers a positive alternative:

  • More native forest throughout Aotearoa, resulting in cleaner waterways, less erosion, more biodiversity and less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • By making products using ingredients that are native to New Zealand, our country prospers as a result.
  • Through combining traditional remedies with modern science, we have the potential to make products that can help people throughout the world in a wide range of ways.

Imagine what it would be like to live in such a country. That’s the future we’re working towards. If this resonates with you, please feel free to get in touch and join the conversation!