I had many amazing trips to Fiji and Samoa and each time I was so touched by the beautiful hospitality of the local people. The purpose of trips was to meet with potential suppliers and research local healing oils that could be used in the Vatea range.
I spent many hours with a local family in Fiji called the Punjas whose hospitality was unmatched. We had many beautiful family dinners, lunches and they kindly introduced me to some local villagers so I could learn more about local healing remedies. The benefit of working together would enable the local people exposure to business opportunities hence benefitting their communities and in return I could shine a light on their way of life and age old healing practices. The way I love to do business... with friendship, warmth and humour.
The Punjas introduced me to Mr Harry Foreate who is from the very remote island of Rotuma which is the home of some of the Virgin Coconut Oil used in Vatea products. Rotuma is part of Fiji although in the far North East, 646km from Suva and very close to Polynesia. Mr Foreate has been working towards organic certification for his island since 2013. Due to the remote nature of the island, it's very easy to control the amount of harmful pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, although costly to export products due the distance. The problem he faces is that never before has an entire island been certified organic so the job at hand is immense. Still, Mr Foreate, along with the management of the Island has been persisting and continue to do so in order to improve the livelihoods and opportunities for the youth of the island.
Another remarkable person is from the organisation Women in Business and Development Incorporation from the island of Western Samoa. This organisation was initiated by Adimaimalaga Tafunai, who due to her work over the last twenty years, has increased the standard of living for many Samoans, specifically by offering greater opportunities for schooling for the youth and increasing the standard of health care. She has been recognised by both the United Nations and the European Union for her efforts in encouraging women into the work place where the benefits are experienced directly within the community. We purchase our soaps from Women in Business and Development (WIBDI) which are included in our Baby Dream Box.
Recently, I've also been introduced to Makrava Pene, also from Rotuma by the Women of Samoa. They wanted to share their good fortune with other women in the Pacific Islands. We are working towards obtaining tamanu / dilo oil from Makrava and I hope to meet her soon in Rotuma. Makrava harvests the seeds of the dilo tree and works with her children to extract the oil. This oil has been used for thousands of years by the women of the South Pacific for wound healing properties for the skin. In Polynesia, it was also central to sacred ceremonies as totems were carved from tamanu wood.
All Vatea products contain 100% natural ingredients derived from the South Pacific islands.