In celebration of our newest collection 'Nectarine' for RUBY spring 2015, we are giving away free Ahi-Ka Tonics on launch day to help kick those winter blues.

With a focus on tonics orientated around wellness and health, Ahi-Ka blend a love for their culture and wellbeing as a recipe to their success.

We sat down with Tama, founder of Ahi-ka Tonics, to find out a little bit more about their amazing product...

What does Ahi-Ka mean and why did you choose this name for your brand?

Kawakawa tea and Kūmarahou tea are popular herbal remedies. I grew up on Great Barrier Island. In my family Kawakawa and Kūmarahou tea was a staple, especially in the winter. As kids, my grandmother wouldn’t let us out of the cabin without a cup of Kūmarahou. For rural and particularly Māori communities these teas are pretty common.

There’s a pretty large push that I think everyone is aware of towards health and well-being. Thought it’d be pretty cool to embrace something that is of this land and that grows in our backyard that has a traditional and remedial orientation.

From the formation of the idea to the reality of launching a brand and product, how did you actually make it happen? And is there anyone in particular that really helped you along the way?

We are still fairly small-scale so don’t know if we’ve made anything happen yet! But it’s a stoke to get positive feedback on the tonics and to hear that people enjoy ‘em. Re. getting the ball rolling – like they say, it’s a matter of getting out there and getting stuck in. Considering the product is essentially a result of family practice, they’ve been a huge source of support/inspiration. And they’re still sweet with me crashing at home which is awesome.

Your tonics are motivated by Māori appreciation and knowledge. Tell us about the different leaves and remedies that you draw inspiration from...

The Kawakawa leaf and the Kūmarahou leaf make up a large part of Māori medicine. The Kawakawa leaf in particular is amazing. It exhibits anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities. Hence it has been traditionally used as an external application to heal open cuts/abrasions. Also, contemporarily, it’s used by pharmaceuticals in creams and ointments. When consumed as a tea, among other affects, Kawakawa leaf tea soothes the stomach as a result of its high anti-inflammatory and alkaline content.

Conversely, the Kūmarahou leaf contains many plant agents that have a depurative affect on the body. Depurative herbs activate the elimination channels, like the liver, kidneys and gall bladder etc. This means it’s good for the blood. Further, its saponin content means it was the first drink of choice as a traditional expectorant to help clear the lungs of mucus etc.

Do you have any advice for all of our RUBY entrepreneurs out there?

Not sure if I should be giving advice, but if you’re having fun that’s always a good start!