Long Term Goals: Matakana Botanicals

Matakana Botanicals is having a very good year. Company director Danvers Devereux is celebrating an amazing 30-year anniversary in the business, and a further ten years for the Great Barrier Island Bee Co.

Begun as Les Floralies by Danvers’ mum Colyn, in an Auckland basement, the Matakana Botanicals brand was born when Danvers moved to this area. The family had always had a bach at Leigh, and with the added enticement of a number of botanical ingredients able to be sourced locally, it made perfect sense. 

The idea for Great Barrier Island Bee Co was conceived when Danvers was sitting on a friend’s veranda on the island just over ten years ago. He was reading about the history of the island at the time and was fascinated by the pioneering beekeepers of those early years. 

Suddenly he realised that the manuka trees around him were humming with bees. A few weeks later, having combined his cosmetics knowledge with research on benefits of manuka honey, Danvers had created a fledgling new brand which would support and promote Great Barrier Island. 

“The history of honey on the island is something I’m really passionate about,” Danvers enthuses. He’s pretty keen on Great Barrier Island generally and is committed to raising the profile of its pristine environments. GBI Bee Co supports various charities on the island: the Aotea Family Support Group, local schools and the surf club as well as lots of fundraising events. 

There are now over 20 products in the Great Barrier Island Bee Co range, from a sugar scrub to body butter, as well as a new natural 30SPF sunscreen and two after-sun products. New for Matakana Botanicals is a chef’s range – a zingy combination of lemongrass, lime and bergamot in a hand wash, lotion, candle and room spray. 

This Christmas is a poignant one for Danvers however. His beloved mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers eight years ago and has had some significant health issues recently. However, when clearing out the family home, Danvers found some old canisters of fragrance. One was labelled simply ‘Christmas’. It still had some essential oil in it and Danvers was amazed at how well the cool, dark basement had preserved it. 

“It brought back wonderful memories of those early days at Christmas,” Danvers says. “We had it re-created by a fragrance expert and with mum very much in mind, we’ve decided to create a limited edition Christmas candle with it.” 

In a beautiful gold pot with a silver lining, it’s a long-lasting beeswax and soy blend. And with every sale of the candle, Matakana Botanicals will donate 20% to Alzheimer’s New Zealand. It’s a fitting tribute to the woman who began it all 30 years ago. 


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