Welcome to our Manukora Sweet Talks series. On the last Friday of each month, you will be able to get up close and personal with epic individuals in our community and learn more about their area of expertise. Who knows, they may even share their Mānuka honey hacks! To receive the blog direct to your inbox each month, make sure you're signed up to our email list. We’d love your feedback on any areas of expertise you’d like to hear from in the coming months - drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know!
May Sweet Talks
Introducing Greg, Manukora’s Operations & Sustainability Manager, and perhaps best known amongst the team as the office chatterbox.
Greg is a valued member of our team in New Zealand. Over the past year, Greg has predominantly been based at his home on Great Barrier Island, a beautiful, remote island just off the East Coast of the North Island, New Zealand that is famous for being the first place in the country for Mānuka honey production. As you will see from our chat with Greg, he has a passion for the health of the planet and lives these values himself everyday. We are grateful to have him as an advocate for improving the way we do business at Manukora.
What inspired your own passion in the sustainability/environmental space?
I think what drove my own passion for the environment was seeing things changing around me. It’s as simple as us producing more carbon each and every day and destroying more and more forests, wetlands and native bush at the same pace. The world is getting out of balance. We need to protect these natural environments as they are the ones that are cleaning up our air and the mess we are making.
What inspired me is that no matter where I went or who I talked to, this change was happening in everyone's backyards. I don’t believe you have to look much further. We are pretty lucky on Great Barrier Island being that it is so remote, but as soon as we get a big storm, we find huge amounts of rubbish drifting up onto the beaches. When we look out into the Hauraki Gulf (the sea of Great Barrier Island) we see trawling boats taking thousands of fish each day from the ocean.
This made me realize that these things are happening due to us as individuals living how we are living. I just thought I might only be 1 person, but if 100 people decided to adjust their lifestyle to help reduce their footprint, then it would actually yield a big impact overall. So that’s where it started. I started growing my own food. Eating greener. Reducing the amount of electricity and water I use. Biking to work or to a mate’s house. Thinking about the products I am buying, what they are made of and what is the packaging made of? All these little things add up!
What companies do you think are best paving the way to create positive environmental impacts?
I think there is no question that Patagonia is my biggest inspiration. They have really paved the way for companies to create positive environmental impacts. It doesn’t get more committed than giving the company’s profit to save the planet.
Raglan Food Co. is a New Zealand company that I think has been leading the way here in the country. They were one of the first companies I was aware of in New Zealand to become carbon zero certified. It’s not just that they became carbon zero, but their commitment to reducing their emissions every year to create a bigger impact that is so impressive. They were also a ‘best for the world B Corp’ in 2022 for their positive environmental impact. I am stoked for them as this shows all the hard work they have been doing.
Outside of the great work you do for Manukora, how do you seek solace and replenishment?
Being on a computer for most of the day for work, I try to spend as much time as possible outside. If the weather is on point, surfing and kayak fishing are the two hobbies that I try to get out and do as much as I can. If the wind is up, I do love a potter in the garden. It’s super satisfying watching your plants go from little seedlings to full grown plants you can pick produce for the household. I’ve also got my dog Ziggy who does a great job of making sure I get out every morning and evening to walk on the beach or up White Cliffs (local mountain next to the house).
What are a few simple sustainable practices you’ve incorporated into your own life that you would recommend others attempt as well?
I know everyone’s in a different situation, so I’ve tried my best to jot down a few things hopefully everyone could give a go:
- Try growing your own vegetables: It doesn’t get more local than this. It’s hard work but it feels pretty awesome eating your own produce.
- Make an effort to get off the grid: Living on Great Barrier Island, there is no main water or electricity supply on the island, so I have to rely on solar power and the water off of my roof. Living on the island the last few years has been a great opportunity for me to understand how much water and power a household uses. Even if you're not off the grid, there are small things you can check to help reduce your footprint. Simple acts like trying to shorten showers, and turning lights off when you're not in the room, checking the insulation in your home and investing in energy efficient light bulbs can all make an impact over time. Big step…if permitted in your county or state, try to put a water tank in your backyard and collect the rainwater off your roof. You don’t have to rely fully on this for your water supply, but you might start with a small tank that you can use to wash your car and water your garden. Lastly, have a look at solar, you might be surprised by the payback period.
- Have a look at the things you actually need: Realize what you don’t need and what you can go without.
What makes you a Manukora super user?
I love a smoothie and Manukora’s MGO 850+ Manuka honey goes in my smoothie every day for a boost of nutrition. I feel the Manuka honey along with the other goodness in my smoothies does a great job at supporting my digestive system and gut health. During the winter, I am a huge fan of lemon, ginger, and honey tea to support my immunity.
What sustainability focussed piece of education would you recommend to our Manukora community and why?
I am not the greatest reader, but I could not put down Yvonne Chouinard's (fonder of Patagonia) book “Let my people go surfing”.
I do absolutely love a doco though and I have listed a few below that I think are really great:
- Biggest Little Farm (trailer)
- Seeding Change (doco)
- Kiss The Ground (doco- trailer)
- Living a Radically Simple Permaculture Life on 1/4 Acre | Creatures of Place
To learn out more about Manukora’s sustainability program, check out our B Corp blog. See you back here next month!