Foraging is part of Keely's everyday activities. As a herbalist, she and her trusty companion Sprocky roam Whanganui parks and the awa seeking out medicinal plants and herbs.
"A herbalist is someone that works in relationship to plants," Keely said. "Someone that serves nature, someone that is like an instrument of the natural world, someone that can be the person that can be the 'talk' between the plants and the people."
Keely calls herself a budding herbalist. Having practised herbalism informally, she is studying remotely with the Southern Institute of Medical Herbalism to become a certified medicinal herbalist.
Her work is already gaining a following. She sells her tinctures, topical balms and luxury products at Whanganui's Saturday market and online under the banner Wild Tender.
Her plan is to share her knowledge with others to help people become "kitchen herbalists".
"I would like to expand Wild Tender to become a place where I can teach people how to build medicine gardens, so I could go to people's houses and teach them how to build the gardens and also how to harvest and process their own medicines."
Like herbalism, much modern medicine is also based on plants. Pharmaceuticals receive more thorough scientific testing, while herbalism falls under the umbrella of alternative medicine but for some customers its efficacy is undeniable.
"The other day I got the funniest review from someone, they use the Moon Medicine I make," Keely said. "I didn't mean for it to happen but it's been helping a lot of women with endometriosis, and I got this one review from this person who is like 'whoever these people are they are witches because I haven't been in pain or nauseous since using this tincture'."
Bridget Tyson is another happy customer who uses a tincture made by Keely.
"I have metastatic breast cancer so I have three fractures in my spine," she said. "I use it for pain relief every day. I am on stable pain relief but I don't need to take my top-ups if I use this.
"Cancer patients can't use lots of chemicals so this is really good because it doesn't have all the bad stuff in it."
According to The Global Wellness Institute, the complementary medicine industry has grown rapidly in the past decade and world-wide is currently valued at over US$4 trillion.
Another form of herbalism in New Zealand is rongoā, a Māori healing system, which is seeing a revival across the country in efforts to improve the health of Māori communities. The Ministry of Health funds some local rongoā providers in the region and some aspects of rongoā were trialled at Whanganui Hospital in 2012.
"A lot of the world feeds off illness," Keely said. "I feel like we are starting to get to a point where our illness is not sustainable and it's not sustainable to humankind, not sustainable for the earth, but also the crazy amount of money we have to spend on healthcare .
"So much of it we could do by just going outside and incorporating nettle, dandelion and kale - eating the rainbow."
But Keely warns that foragers need to know exactly what they are looking for because some plants can be harmful if not used correctly.
To find out which is which, budding herbalists can attend her workshops through the community education centre in spring.
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