The Curious Case of
The Honey Research Unit at The University of Waitako
When it comes to honey, it seems that bees are not the only irreplaceable natural health resource disappearing from today's troubled world.
During the research for a page on the benefits of Honey and Cinnamon as a cure for many ailments and ills - including cancer I chanced upon the website for the Honey Research Unit at The University of Waitako. It consisted, at the time, of the terse advice "closed for redevelopment".
I could find no trace of any of the valuable, award-winning work the Honey Research Unit had undertaken over the years on the beneficial therapeutic effects of this marvellous substance.
On further investigation I was intrigued by the callous treatment this precious unit has suffered and decided to look further. I have had no reply to my enquiries about the unit's website which were submitted through the University's website - a sustained "no comment" from the administration.
Honey Research Unit (HRU)
|The Honey Research Unit was established to promote research into the antimicrobial properties, composition and identification of honeys. It also serves as a source of expert knowledge on the composition and properties of honey, providing information and advice to marketers of honey and products containing honey, and information for the public on use of honey as a therapeutic agent (my emphasis) .
The Unit is funded by the New Zealand honey industry and by various research grants.
Where you will now (October, 2012) be greeted with:
All links to any of the Unit's work now end up on this page bio.waikato.ac.nz/honey/closed.shtml which I assume means the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikatohas been closed.
So much for public information on the benefits of honey, I wonder how the New Zealand honey industry regards the wisdom of investing in such a useful and to-date productive initiative now.
My curiosity was further piqued by the University's motto: Ko te tangata, which is Maori for “For The People”. The University advertises their “Special Character” as offering a uniquely New Zealand model of university education. Our motto, 'Ko Te Tangata', which means 'For the People', reflects our philosophy that we are in, of, and for the community.
It seems to me that the University of Waitako operates in quite an opposing spirit by removing such worthwhile and useful information from the public domain with no explanation. Perhaps their interpretation of “For The People” has evolved, like so many other institutions these days, to “For The People Who Give Us Money”.
About the Honey Research Unit and it's Director
The Unit's Director, Professor Peter C. Molan MBE is internationally renowned as “the biochemist that discovered the antibacterial property in Manuka honey”.
He appears to be a tireless and prolific crusader for the benefits of New Zealand honey. So much so that the Queen and the Royal Society of New Zealand have both awarded him high accolades for his work.
In 1995 Peter received an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) from the Queen for services to the honey industry. The award citation states that “He is internationally recognised for his research work on New Zealand honey's and has pioneered research into the anti-bacterial attributes of honey. His work has been the single most important factor in both the domestic and international change in perspective regarding the value of New Zealand honeys.”.
Again, in 2001, the Royal Society awarded Peter their Silver Medal in recognition of his work in communicating science to the public, specifically in regard to revolutionising the New Zealand honey industry, engaging in a substantial publicity campaign that increased public awareness and acceptance of honey products and for being an acknowledged world authority on the healing powers of honey.
International recognition and appreciation of Professor Molan's emminence and work are not hard to find, here are a very few examples:
- We are very grateful to Dr Peter Molan of the Honey Research Unit at Waikato University, New Zealand, for his dedicated research and knowledge. Many people worldwide have benefited greatly from the findings of his years of passionate study into the healing qualities of honey - many of these people had previously had conditions for which no other treatment had been effective. 
- “Professor Molan is the most experienced person in the world regarding Manuka’s antibacterial properties.” - Roy Crawford, Vice Chancellor of the University of Waikato
- “arguably the most published honey scientist in the world”
- Peter’s advice has helped many patients with serious wound infections, which often have not responded to other treatments.
What does the work at the Honey Research Unit cover?
The list of published work from the unit is quite huge and clearly demonstrates the exhaustive, wide-ranging and invaluable work carried out in furthering mankind's knowledge of the marvellous benefits of honey.
Research carried out by students at the unit in obtaining higher degrees:
A 28 year period has seen 34 theses submitted for higher degrees - a very respectable catalogue of fostering knowledge and understanding of honey while promoting its benefits to humanity. Many of these can still be found through the The University of Waikato Research Commons" - just search for "honey thesis".
What could be causing this travesty?
Another priceless resource for mankind appears to be disappearing.
What could induce a prominent University who proudly proclaims the philosophy “we are in, of, and for the community” to extinguish this vast body of priceless knowledge generated by such an eminent and distinguished scholar?
A scholar whom the Vice-Chancellor publicly acknowledges as “the most experienced person in the world regarding Manuka’s antibacterial properties”.
A scholar whom the Royal Society of New Zealand bestowed high award upon for communicating Science to the public.
A scholar whom the Queen has bestowed high award upon for outstanding contributions to Science and the New Zealand economy.
I suspect money and profit are likely motives for blocking public access to such a body of extremely useful, unique and practical information.
At least the bees are still about their industry, producing their “liquid gold” for the benefit of us all.
All may not be lost: some of the Unit's work may still be found
To give The University of Waikato it's due, there is a “digital institutional repository” whose charter is to publicise, freely disseminate, and preserve the work of the University of Waikato’s scholars and ensure the research activities of staff and students are well known locally, nationally and internationally.
The Research Commons (as the repository is known) offers University of Waitako staff and presumably us, the public:
Fortunately Professor Peter C. Molan has submitted some of the unit's work to this “For The People” outreach.
- Free, open access to university digital works
The University of Waikato search facility lists some 887 pages for “Honey”, amongst them are links to many works by Professor Peter C Molan (MBE).
Here are just a few which point to currently available material from the first 20 results:
A curious admission of guilt?
The University of Waikato search facility also lists many references to the Research Unit. Here is a list of material which has disappeared - all the pages are currently “closed for redevelopment”. An apparent public admission by the University that it has indeed removed this material and denied the community access to its invaluable health-giving advice.