May 16, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Chinese company markets Heitiki infant formula

3 min read

(by Mum with a mouth) Im sure youre heard all about the formula being marketed as The Healthy Infant Formula by Kiaora New Zealand International Limited. There has been a bit of confusion about the company and their motives so I will explain a little. I called Kiaora New Zealand International Limited (also the offices of Kiaora Investment Group Limited) after finding out abouttheirHeitiki brand infant formula and had the opportunity to ask heaps of questions about their company, their products, andtheirintentions.

I first browsed their website, but it is pretty scant on information. I then did aquick search of the Companies Office and I found that the company is owned by Tianxi Shao, Wei Guo and Shengqing Xu. This made sense after reading their website, which as well as being incomplete, didnt make sense in a lot of places.

Since the Chinese milk scandal in 2008 there has been a lot of bulk buying of New Zealand infant formulas for sale in China. Chinese parents are still wary of buying formula produced in China, and New Zealand formula is seen as a safealternative.

When I spoke to a representative of Kiaora New Zealand International Limited, I was told the company is selling their Heitiki formula in China, and has no intention of selling it to New Zealand consumers at this stage.Hon Tariana Turiasaid in targeting a Maori concept, it could be seen to be actively encouraging Maori women to substitute breastmilk with infant formula, but after speaking to the company, it is clear their formula isnt being sold in New Zealand.

Their company and website are only based in New Zealand to fool Chinese consumers and suppliers into thinking that it is a New Zealand formula and give more weight to the health of their product.

Many people have a problem with the fact that their use of the name Heitiki is disrespectful of tikanga Maori and is a theft of cultural knowledge.

I had the opportunity to question the company on this and it was clear they have no understanding of the cultural importance of Heitiki and that they only used the Maori symbols to make their product appear to be authentically New Zealand. I took theopportunityto educate them a little on the using a culture they have no knowledge about in this way and was told we will take that into consideration.

I also spoke to them about theWorld Health Organisation International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and explained that their marketing makes false and misleading claims about the health of their product. Using words such as for super gene can cause parents to think that formula is a better option than breastmilk. Nowhere on the companys website are parents told of the superiority of breastmilk (as is required by the code), it is also full of false and vague information about the history of their company and their products.

After speaking to the companys representative, and researching the company further, it is clear that the people behind Kiaora New Zealand International Limited have minimal knowledge of infant formulamanufacturing and are only in it for the money. It does concern me that babies may be being put at risk by being fed the Heitiki formula but because there is no real information on where the formula is produced, or by what company, or even what ingredients are in the formula, it is not possible to know what is actually in the tin.

I know there are several groups fighting to have Kiaora New Zealand stop selling their Heitiki formula, so I guess wellhaveto wait and see what happens over the next few months.

Images taken from the Heitiki Website.

Update: The New Zealand Herald has since published an article on Tariana Turias response to the Heitiki formula. They said, Chinese company director Tianxi Shao did not return Herald calls yesterday so it is not clear if the Heitiki formula is being sold in China.

3 thoughts on “Chinese company markets Heitiki infant formula

  1. Nothing short of typical Hainamana attempt to continue to trick people into the credibility of a product. China hasnt been meeting the basic of standards in terms of the food it exports to here in Australia. They have re-labeled their products as having been made in NZ, in the hope to once again get the food export trade functioning on the back of our country. Now on the back of a Maori label. Gahhhh!! I dont like how your tricking people China or giving the impression that this product is far superior to breastmilk is a kick in the kumu.

  2. Nowadays it is very hard to identify if the product you are purchasing are real or fake. But in some cases if that particular product is a whole lot cheaper than the product you buy from your trusted store, then i believe that those are fake ones.

  3. some Chinese own souvenir shops have been selling so called Manukau honey products made in NZ at incredible low prices. Wonder these are real deal. Hope MAF can look into it.

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