Business is Boring is a weekly podcast series presented by The Spinoff in association with Callaghan Innovation in which host Simon Pound speaks with innovators and commentators focused on the future of New Zealand. This week he talks to Rebekah and Tamati Norman of local apothecary company Native Rituals.
Business at its best can be a tool for bringing countries and peoples together – and things like fair trade and conscious consumerism hold part of the solution to helping traditional communities enter the global economy. One country that is really quite close, and big, but not widely visited or understood is Papau New Guinea. More than 8 million people there live mainly rural and farming lives, with some of the most amazing geographical and cultural diversity and oldest cultures in the world. Colonialism, mining exploitation, civil war and international neglect have meant that PNG faces many challenges today, with the exploitation and unrest still forces to contend with. But perhaps the biggest issue is isolation – the small amount of tourism and trade with the outside world means unethical mining and practices continue.
One of the coolest things about business is the way it can help lift and connect, and today’s guests are working to do just that. Tamati and Rebekah Norman turned family connections into PNG Direct, a company connecting organic and naturally produced oils, spices and essential oils with international customers. Tamati is the former chair of the NZ Papau New Guinea business council, working to create more links between the two countries. Traditional and respectful natural production is a big interest for the couple, who are are behind Native Rituals, a modern Aotearoa apothecary company making balms and fragrances that incorporate ingredients traditionally used in Māori preparations across time.
To talk honouring the past, ancient knowledge, and arming people for the future, Tamati and Rebekah join us now.