Tribute to Professor Peter Molan
Tuesday, 22 September 2015


Today family and friends of Professor Peter Molan gathered in Hamilton for his farewell. Sadly, Peter passed away Wednesday 16 September, at his home in Hamilton after a long illness.

Kerry Paul, Manuka Health’s CEO, was asked to speak at the funeral and paid tribute for his contribution to the New Zealand Manuka Industry.


See Kerry Paul’s tribute speech in full:

To Alyson and Family, and Gathered Friends,

Today we are here to pay a tribute and farewell to a True Legend. A man who will be remembered, not just by ourselves, but by future generations, as the Father and Founder of the thriving New Zealand Manuka honey industry.

It is hard to imagine how many people today owe him for their health, wealth and well-being.

Peter’s work has benefitted many. There are literally thousands of scientists and students, many thousands in the New Zealand Manuka honey industry and worldwide tens of thousands of people selling Manuka honey to millions of consumers that have benefitted in some way from Peter’s discovery of this miraculous natural product.

And all this started with Peter Molan. Not many people can look back on their lives and make claim to have started a whole industry!

But really Peter’s contribution was not about commercial objectives. He was driven by an overwhelming desire to help those people in need.

There have been numerous cases where people have overcome adverse health conditions and improved their quality of life by using Manuka honey:

  • Diabetics, have had their limbs saved from amputation;
  • People with acute and hard to heal infected wounds have had them healed;
  • Those suffering with stomach ulcers and other serious digestive problems have found a solution;
  • Eczema and dermatitis sufferers have found an answer to their problem;
  • And many hospitals across Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand have been successfully using Manuka honey for healing burns and infected wounds which conventional medicine has failed to remedy.

And this all is due to the scientific discovery of the unique antibacterial activity of Manuka Honey made by Professor Peter Molan some 25 years ago. 

Peter’s role was wider than the initial discovery. He was a universal communicator. He took on the mission to promote this knowledge to as wider audience as possible. Peter presented his studies to many different audiences from scientists and health professionals at various scientific forums and conferences right across to answering questions from everyday consumers. Peter had the ability to get his message across in all forums. Even in retirement Peter continuously kept using every opportunity to educate and promote the science behind genuine Manuka honey. 

Nobody was too small for a modest, big-hearted Professor who always seemed to have time to address questions from everyone.

For many years the reason why Manuka Honey was unique remained unknown. There was not just Professor Peter Molan, but many scientists and pharmaceutical companies worldwide trying to find the holy grail of the Manuka Honey industry.

The answer came from Germany in 2006 from Professor Thomas Henle’s group. It is fair to say Peter did not take this news easily. However the mark of a true scientist is being open to accepting credible evidence as part of the process of building knowledge. Peter was able to correct his opinion and be convinced by purely scientific arguments – the sign of a perfect scientist.

We all enjoyed the interaction Peter had with Thomas Henle. The two Scientific Giants of the Manuka Honey industry met several years ago and Peter showed the ability to constructively criticise and receive self-criticism, all important elements in a scientific discussion. I could have sold tickets for a few thousand dollars each to those who wanted to be present at that dinner table!

Deeply generous, ethical and humble, Peter was a man of strong principles. He tirelessly fought against unscrupulous companies who misled consumers by selling them falsely-labelled manuka honey. Also Peter would stand up to those in the industry who he believed were not being honest and acting in a just manner. He took them on. Peter was certainly a shining knight on a crusade and fought fearlessly for what he believed. Integrity A+++ (triple plus) was what Peter Molan was about.

Peter I will miss those emails you endlessly generated aimed at exposing those who fell below your high standards.

We have always and will always remember Peter as a great scientist, man of principles, and the Father of the Manuka Honey industry

In our opinion he deserves to be knighted for his remarkable contribution to the development of the New Zealand economy.

Sir Peter Molan, thank you from all of us and rest in peace.