When Graeme Atkins was growing up in rural Ruatoria in the 1970s it was a long way to the doctor, especially on horseback.

So, if somebody got sick his kuia would send him off into the bush, with a list of natural medical supplies.

It led to a full-blown passion, something Atkins had to "hide" from his mates.

"It was hardcase growing up. Not a lot of my mates were into plants, I had to keep it in the wardrobe."


Today, the Ngāti Porou Department of Conservation ranger still turns to the bush for a range of medicines.

On his