Rongoā Māori to treat eczema

By Leah Te Whata

A Porirua-based duo is taking the battle against eczema into their own hands, developing naturally and traditionally sourced skincare while encouraging other Māori parents to do the same.

Community Nurse and Be + Humble co-founder Zoe Vardy says, "In Aotearoa, Māori people know that our tūpuna used to use what they had around them for kai, for medicines so we wanted to take our skincare back to our traditional ways and we thought what better way to do that than to use what our tūpuna used."

Eczema is estimated to affect 15% of all Māori children. Zoe Vardey and Abby Ikin are on a mission to bring Māori parents back to traditional medicines to help ease the stress of treating their children.

Ikin says, "I couldn't find anything out there in the market for my baby that was also Māori owned so that was a big thing for me and I wanted to know where the things came from that was for my baby's skin."

"It enables them to spend more time with their babies rather than being at the hospital, being at doctors, rather than paying for prescriptions for ointments and creams that aren't necessarily beneficial," adds Vardey.

They've also incorporated hemp into their products and hope that expected law change around the industrial cultivation of the plant makes it more accessible in New Zealand.

"It's not necessarily as easy to access from Kiwi-grown farms," says Vardey.

They're now looking into creating naturally derived makeup products.

NB: In the original report, we had Be + Healthy instead of  Be + Humble, arohamai.