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Cliff Van Eaton


The biography of an extraordinary honey

Cliff Van Eaton

Not so long ago, in a small island nation in the South Pacific, beekeepers produced a most peculiar honey. It was much darker than the clover honey everyone put on their toast in the morning, and it tasted very different. In fact, the honey was a problem: it was hard to get out of the combs, and even harder for beekeepers to sell.

Today that honey, manuka from New Zealand, is known around the world. It fetches high prices, and beekeepers do everything in their power to produce as much of it as possible. Wound dressings containing manuka honey are used in leading hospitals, and it has saved the lives of patients infected with disease-causing bacteria that are resistant to standard antibiotic drugs. In so doing it has forced the medical profession to rethink its position on the therapeutic properties of natural products.

This book chronicles the remarkable ‘rags-to-riches’ story of manuka honey, as seen through the eyes of a New Zealand beekeeping specialist who watched it unfold from the very beginning. It’s a great tale of science, in which an inquisitive university lecturer found something totally unexpected in a product everyone had written off. It’s also an entertaining account of the way that seemingly simple discovery caught the international media’s attention, helping enterprising New Zealanders to develop manuka honey-based products and take them all around the globe.

But above all else it’s a story of hope for the future, sounding a note of optimism in a world that for good reason feels saddened and sometimes even afraid about the future of the special relationship we humans have always had with those marvellous creatures, the honey bees.

Finalist - 2015 Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize

"Manuka honey is a uniquely New Zealand product, valued here and internationally for its rich taste and therapeutic properties. In this delightful and surprising book Cliff Van Eaton tells the captivating story of the science behind the discovery of the antibiotic effects of manuka honey, with a focus on the scientists and beekeepers who have brought this product to the world." ~ Judges' comments

****Silver Medalist at the World Beekeeping Awards 2015****

"A fascinating book." --, the world's most popular beekeeping website

"Compulsive read." - MindFood magazine

"There are things in this book even I didn't know about manuka. I literally couldn't put it down." - Dr. Peter Molan, MBE, the discoverer of the unique antibacterial activity in manuka honey.

"A well-researched, superbly written book." - NZ Beekeeper magazine 

"A love letter to honey, bees and beekeepers." - Kathryn Ryan, Nine to Noon, Radio New Zealand 

Specifications: 234 x 151 mm | Paperback | 256 pages | colour photographs


About the author:

Cliff Van Eaton is a well-known writer on beekeeping subjects and is co-author of two books on bee diseases used by beekeepers in New Zealand and overseas. For over 30 years he worked as a beekeeping adviser and consultant in New Zealand, and has also assisted beekeepers in countries as diverse as the Solomon Islands, Uruguay and Vietnam.


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World Beekeeping Awards, September 2015

Author Cliff Van Eaton recieves the Silver Medal for 'Manuka' at the 2015 World Beekeeping Awards!

Manuka receives the silver medal at the World Beekeeping Awards 2015

Wound Care Journal, July 2015

“An entertaining account of the remarkable story of Manuka… provides the reader with new appreciation of the  honey bees, bee-keepers and scientists involvement in the discovery and development of Manuka honey-based products used in wound management today.”  


Manuka Wound Care Journal Exisle Publishing

Review - Cafe Society, March 2015

Gives "a detailed account of how the 'ugly duckling' of honey came to be a Kiwi icon, and a revered and lucrative industry thanks to a university lecturer who discovered the plant's 'unique properties'. "

Exisle Publishing Cafe Society Review Manuka


Review - Grass Roots, March 2015

"The story of how the honey's qualities were discovered and the way it took off to become a $140 million a year industry is certainly food for thought."

Grass Roots Manuka Exisle Publishing


Beeworld Journal, International Bee Research Association, January 2015

"The book is written in an easy to read conversational style that makes the text a pleasure to pick up...(it) will not only be of interest to beekeepers and those involved in the honey industry, but to anyone with an interest in science, ecology or natural history...there are numerous complex ideas covered within the text that could have been confusing, but which instead have been handled with skill by the author and so have been communicated in a way that makes them accessible to all...This is an interesting and informative book that makes for a very enjoyable read."  

"A fascinating book." --, the world's most popular beekeeping website


"A love song to honey bees." - Kathryn Ryan, Nine to Noon, Radio New Zealand 


"Compulsive read." - MindFood magazine


"Well-researched, superbly written." - NZ Beekeeper magazine 


"There are things in this book even I didn't know about manuka. I literally couldn't put it down." - Dr. Peter Molan, MBE, the discoverer of the unique antibacterial activity in manuka honey


“Two or maybe three books in one, and written with both beekeepers and non-beekeepers in mind…The whole book is fascinating to read.” – The Beekeepers Quarterly magazine


Australian Beekeeping Journal - December 2014

australian beekeeping journal on manuka honey december 2014

Wellbeing Magazine - October 2014


Sustainability Matters - October 2014

sustainability Matters on manuka honey

BeExclusive - August 2014

beexclusive review on manuka honey

Radio Ultra 106.5 Hobart - October 2014

ultra 106.5 radio interview on manuka honey



ABC Statewide Afternoons (NSW) - October 15, 2014

Listen to interview here


50 Something Magazine - October 2014

50 something on manuka honey


2SM - October 2014

2sm interview on manuka honey


Mindfood - October 2014

mindfood reviews manuka


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