Peter Molan, Manuka Expert, Passes Away

The man who is credited with uncovering the power of Manuka honey has passed away. Dr. Peter Molan, a biochemist whose research identified the honey’s healing powers, died on September 16 at the age of 71. Molan received a silver medal from New Zealand Science and Technology for his work which has “revolutionized the New Zealand honey industry” according to his award. According to an article featured on, his wife Alyson nursed him through illness with the help of Hospice Waikato.

Alyson, who was married to Dr. Molan for 24 years, believed that his obsession with Manuka honey was just a passing phase. It was not until she spilled boiling water onto her hand that she understood the power of honey herself. “He just bunged honey all over it, wrapped it up. And the bit that he missed wrapping, it had a huge blister. The rest of my hand was absolutely clear,” Alyson said. Dr. Molan was known by his family for having a Manuka honey gel that cured everything from rashes to acne.

“His honey work was his passion in life. It wasn’t only his passion, it was his hobby… That was what he loved to do,” Alyson went on to say. Dr. Molan spent over 40 years at the University of Waikato as a lecturer and had just retired in April of last year. According to Alyson, he loved working with the students and the research Dr. Molan performed took the couple to events and conferences all over the world and brought young scientists to be hosted in the couple’s home.

At Dr. Molan’s funeral, Kerry Paul, the chief executive of Manuka Health, presented a tribute speech for the renowned scientist. Paul said Dr. Molan was a “shining knight on a crusade” when it came to identifying companies he believed were selling falsely-labeled or counterfeit Manuka honey. Since the discoveries Dr. Molan has made, Manuka honey has helped many people from all walks of life, including those with diabetes and those who had harder to heal or infected wounds.

“Not many people can look back on their lives and claim to have started a whole industry,” said Paul. Dr. Molan began his work on Manuka honey in 1981 and is credited with creating the Unique Manuka Factor, or UMF, rating scale which led to his later work developing the Molan Golden Standard. Dr. Molan also won a KuDos Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.

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