Good Peo­ple

Sus­tain­abil­ity is at the heart of Dan­vers Dev­ereux’s home and busi­ness life cen­tred at his 5-acre prop­erty in Matakana.

Good - - Contents - Words Carolyn Ent­ing. Pho­tog­ra­phy An­drew Cof­fey

Dan­vers Dev­ereux of Matakana Botan­i­cals

In­no­va­tive think­ing, a strong vi­sion and a lit­tle bit of luck has seen Dan­vers Dev­ereux, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and owner of nat­u­ral body care line Matakana Botan­i­cals, turn his 5-acre ru­ral prop­erty in Matakana into a sus­tain­able op­er­a­tion. Later this year he plans to open a café and store too, which will serve food made from lo­cally sourced pro­duce. When he pur­chased the prop­erty five years ago it was over­grown and lit­tered with derelict farm ve­hi­cles. Af­ter a lot of hard work, he un­earthed a bounty of her­itage fruit trees and grape vines as well as a nat­u­ral spring and work­ing pump. Since then he’s ren­o­vated the orig­i­nal farm­house, planted bee-friendly plants, built three Cus­tom Kit/Eco Span barns (each in­su­lated with eco fleece) and a hen house and erected an out­door shower and two glamp­ing tents for guests, all pow­ered by a so­lar sys­tem, fed by a Bi­olytix sep­tic worm farm and seaweed ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem, and dec­o­rated with hang­ing wall gar­dens. The motto of the fa­ther of four – “tread lightly on the land to­day … so our chil­dren can fol­low to­mor­row”.

What lo­cal in­gre­di­ents do you like to use in your prod­ucts?

Our three hero in­gre­di­ents, which we use across the board in just about all of our prod­ucts, are the olive oil which we grow our­selves in­clud­ing some from the lo­cal olive co­op­er­a­tive, macadamia oil from Kaipara, and our wild har­vested or­ganic Manuka honey and oil comes from Great Bar­rier Is­land. The fra­grances of our Matakana Botan­i­cals new Coast and Country range are also in­spired by the area. Co­coa and Vanilla is all about the mar­kets and foodie fra­grances. Lime and Grape­fruit is a re­ally nice zesty cit­rus – there’s a lot of lime or­chards in the area. Man­darin and Ver­bena – just across here at Point Wells is New Zealand’s largest easy-peel man­darin or­chard. And then there’s Rose and Peony which is an ode to Whangateau red rose, which it’s fa­mous for and you’ll see them down at the Satur­day Matakana Mar­ket.

Also just launched is our new Pro­vin­cial range con­sist­ing of Macadamia & Wild Fig along with Lime & Olive, be­ing a re­flec­tion of the re­gion.

Why do you choose nat­u­ral plant ex­tracts and lo­cal in­gre­di­ents for your ranges Matakana Botan­i­cals, Great Bar­rier Is­land Bee Co. and Gar­den­ers Earth Botan­ics?

I’m in­spired by what’s around me and cre­at­ing iconic Kiwi-in­spired ranges and brands that utilise lo­cal in­gre­di­ents. I wanted them to be close to our ori­gin; sourc­ing close to the prop­erty was an im­por­tant fac­tor. Apart from the ben­e­fits of nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents be­ing utilised we sort of live and breathe the area.

You can find Matakana Botan­i­cals in many ho­tels and lodges now too…

Yes. It’s a re­fill­able eco-ori­en­tated amenity range for ho­tels. I’ve de­signed lit­tle racks for the prod­uct be­cause we sup­ply 5-litre packs that can be re­filled so that they are not dis­pos­ing of all the minia­tures.

Laven­der is a key in­gre­di­ent for your best-sell­ing sleep sniff boxes. Where do you source the laven­der?

Over the years we have bought many laven­der oils from other laven­der farms

[in New Zealand]. We’ve started to grow our own grosso laven­der which has a nice, greeny-woody note. It’s not an ideal laven­der grow­ing area so we’ve used a bed-rais­ing ma­chine to make high rows and mixed pumice into the dirt. Our laven­der oil is then utilised in our ‘Sleep’ sniff boxes which we proudly sup­ply to Emi­rates First Class.

Can you tell us about what you call Matakana Botan­i­cals “green­ness”.

Since the com­pany started 27 years ago (founded at Les Flo­ralies by my mother Colyn Dev­ereux-Kay) we’ve al­ways been con­scious of work­ing in a re­spon­si­ble and sus­tain­able way. It’s sim­ply right and it’s do­ing good for the en­vi­ron­ment. The tim­ber of our Eco Span barns in Matakana is pine from re­gen­er­at­ing forests and painted with Re­sene Cool Colour tech­nol­ogy which re­flects the heat. The build­ings have also been po­si­tioned in such a way to al­low nat­u­ral light to pro­vide heat­ing in win­ter and pro­vide a large north-fac­ing roof for so­lar pan­els which feeds power into a large lithium bat­tery box which then pro­vides power to all build­ings. More than 90 per cent of bulbs used are ei­ther LED or en­ergy ef­fi­cient bulbs and we’ve used Eco Fleece to in­su­late the house, café and of­fices. It’s a wool-based fi­bre.

What about the greater gar­den?

We are a very bee-friendly com­pany. With­out them we would not be here! We’ve ex­ten­sively planted bee-friendly flow­er­ing New Zealand na­tive trees around the prop­erty in­clud­ing kowhai, po­hutakawa and karo as well as laven­der and manuka which is great for our bees and the dis­tillery where we ex­tract botan­i­cal oils. All our edi­ble herb and vege gar­dens are ir­ri­gated from a nat­u­ral spring on the prop­erty, which go via large tanks filled with nu­tri­ent-rich seaweed we have col­lected from lo­cal beaches. The re­sults are amaz­ing. All other wa­ter used on the prop­erty is from rain which falls on the roofs and then flows un­der­ground to our 3 x 30,000 litre tanks. Th­ese have been placed un­der trees in the shade to keep fresh and cool. The wa­ter is then treated with a UV and fil­ter sys­tem.

We’ve also got our own worm waste sys­tem, Bi­olytix, which looks af­ter all our waste wa­ter. It grad­u­ally gets bro­ken down by tiger worms un­til you’ve got a grey wa­ter mass. The tiger worms are ba­si­cally con­vert­ing it into a liq­uid ni­tro­gen, which is great for the plants.

A note from The Body Shop founder Anita Rod­dich hangs in the Matakana Botan­i­cals staffroom …

I was very for­tu­nate to sit next to her at a lunch many years ago where she was guest speaker and launch­ing a new book. She wrote in­side my copy “To Dan­vers … Imag­i­na­tion is more im­por­tant than knowl­edge”. I then pho­to­copied and have al­ways hung it on a wall in the of­fice and it’s cur­rently in our staff room. Her words have al­ways in­spired me as I was no aca­demic grow­ing up but al­ways have had a very cre­ative imag­i­na­tion to get me through! I of­ten say to my young staff, ‘You don’t need to be the bright­est… just have good ideas and act on them.' Anita’s book about the his­tory of The Body Shop was also most in­spir­ing. Here small beginnings cer­tainly re­minded me of our own, with mum mak­ing fra­grant pot­pourri un­der the house and evolv­ing into body care with Les Flo­ralies. There were def­i­nite syn­er­gies of a great jour­ney.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.