An eight-member student business team from Waiopehu College launched their locally sourced and made kawakawa balm at the beginning of July.
The team members are Kate Carline, Adam MacMillan, Flynn Mcivor, Ruby Marshall, Toby Downs, Ashley Snow, Storm Scott, and Josh Dowd.
Over two semesters the team, led by CEOs Scott and Dowd, have formulated a skincare product utilising the native kawakawa plant, which they harvested from the Waiopehu Reserve.
"We used procedures [to harvest the plant] that heavily involved mana and respect for our Māori guardians," said Scott.
The Kawakawa balms are made with all natural ingredients, and come in both unscented and scented options.
Every ingredient has been thoroughly tested and researched to ensure its ability to help such conditions as dry skin, chapped lips, and scars.
The launch was well attended by family, friends and others within the Horowhenua community, who spent the evening learning about the benefits of kawakawa and trying out the products.
Scott said, "we've worked long... hours, in and out of school, establishing every aspect of our business from the ground up... [and] ... to make sure nothing in the product is harmful to consumers."
The team have completely sold out of both scented kawakawa balm options (Rose and French Pear) and are in the process of restocking.
Any profit made from the business will be split among the eight students and put towards their futures after they graduate at the end of this year.
For most it will go towards university studies, moving into a flat, or starting a new small business of their own.
The team's advertising has mainly been by word of mouth and social media, but they are working on a website for people to purchase the balms online.
"We [also] plan to sell the balm in various stores in Levin and Waitarere Beach," said Scott.
In the meantime people can place orders by email (email@example.com) or through the business' Instagram account (@Strictlykawakawa) and local delivery is provided.
At this stage the business remains a school project and does not have to be officially registered.
However, if everything goes the way they hope, the team may consider registering Strictly Kawakawa as a business and continuing in 2022.
Scott said, "For those of us who plan to study business at university or start a business in the future, we have learnt many valuable lessons and hope to continue learning over the next six months."