Founder of the Aotea brand, Tama, grew up on Great Barrier Island – Aotea in Maori. It’s where his whanau and hapu are from and it is here that the native ingredients for all our products hail from.
While the summers were long and idyllic, winter life on the island would take on a harsher edge. Well off the beaten track, the island is void of electricity and running water. Tama’s Kuia – his grandmother – would be sure to always have a pot of Kumarahou or Kawakawa tonic simmering on the woodstove during the cooler months. These tonics became a regular part of the whanau diet, as without access to common household medicines they became the natural rongoa – remedies/medicines – for their winter worries.
This provided the inspiration for Aotea – a culmination of traditional Maori herbal remedies as well as a desire to create sustainable business for whanau. It is these traditions that have formed the basis of the recipes for all our products and it is this desire to create sustainable business that makes us passionate about what we do.