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The Beautiful Story Behind Our Kawakawa and Manuka Balm

by Sami Stretton 06 Jul 2020
The Beautiful Story Behind Our Kawakawa and Manuka Balm


Finding the right artisan producers for our Vet Love Naturally range turned out to be easier than we thought, particularly when it came to our Pet Skin Balm. 

Natural remedies were in Michelle’s blood. Her mother and tāua (nana) had always looked to nature for healing and somehow that passion took hold in Michelle despite her having lost both of them at the age of five.

Then, what had been just a beautiful memory quickly turned into something much bigger when some of her whānau, suffering from skin issues, mentioned they wanted to try something natural. That was all the encouragement Michelle needed to kick start the production of her very first healing balm.

“The certain smell that the balm gives off when I’m making a batch makes me feel like my mum and tāua are all around me”

The sacred gathering of wild ingredients

The area where Michelle collects her wild ingredients is full of fantails; a sacred bird that her Iwi believe are messengers which also helps to draw her closer to her mother and tāua.

Michelle learned about the kawa (protocols) for using rongoā (Māori healing plants) from her whānau and Iwi (Ngati Porou, Kai Tahu, Kati Mamoe).

Before she starts gathering any of her wild Kawakawa and Manuka, a karakia of thanks is given to Tāne-mahuta (Māori God of the Forest) and Papatūānuku (Māori Earth Mother).

Other protocols include ensuring that no more than three leaves are taken per Kawakawa plant for sustainability and never doing any harvesting when it is raining or at night. 

Michelle also only ever collects Kawakawa leaves that have holes in them as tradition states that the moth larvae only touch the sweetest leaves. These leaves, therefore, become the best ones for making balm as their medicinal properties are activated.

Michelle’s Pet Skin Balm with Manuka and Kawakawa provides intensive natural healing to help soothe and repair dry, irritated and sensitive skin.

Pet Skin Balm is effective for:

  • Treating skin that is dry or rough
  • Easing effects of sunburn
  • Proving natural relief from dermatitis 
  • Soothing and helping heal cuts and bruises


Pet Skin Balm with Manuka and Kawakawa


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