Rongoānuku Blossoms as new Ngāti Awa Pākihi

Pākihi Stories: Rongānuku

Rongoānuku Blossoms as new Ngāti Awa Pākihi

Anyone who has visited the Nuku homestead on Brabant Street in Whakatāne over the past six decades will know the origin story of Rongoānuku.

A large section, the house and land provided a home for Dave and Hilda Nuku that sustained their 13 children and continues to be an ūkaipo for their uri. In the garden, even today, are the reminders of their legacy – a vegetable garden, pā harakeke and plants to cure numerous ailments.

And it was here in the garden where the first seeds were planted that would eventually blossom into Rongoānuku.

A new Ngāti Awa business, prioritising selfcare and offering contemporary rongoa products that have been designed to make it easy to incorporate into modern lifestyles, Rongoaānuku is owned by Ani Nuku – a daughter of Dave and Hilda.

With whakapapa to the hapū of Ngāti Rangataua, Ani is a proud Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Pūkeko wahine and says the business is a manifestation of her desire to create economic flexibility and freedom in her own way.

“I started Rongoānuku because I’ve always resonated with traditional healing and herbal remedies,” she says. “Growing up I wasn’t a fan of my Mum’s traditional concoctions, I knew rongoā was good for me but struggled to get it down. After several years of experimenting, I finally created something I felt was good enough to market.”

Ani launched Rongoānuku online in April this year. She says during her time of cultivating her business idea, she studied rongoā in Ōpōtiki through Te Wānanga o Aotearoa to help bring it to fruition and graduated in May of this year.

“In December 2022, I finished working in a social services role and made the big decision to focus on launching Rongoānuku. It has been a huge learning curve finding suppliers, packaging, legal requirements and learning to set up a website and online store while balancing home life, but the challenges have been worthwhile.”

The first collection to be released was Rongoā Latte, a tasty blend of nutrient superfoods combined with the benefits of rongoā, which have been blessed and blended in Whakatāne.

She says her focus now is to grow and promote Rongoānuku.

“A goal is to expand the availability of our products by partnering with aligned stockists, thereby making rongoā more accessible to those who seek it. I am currently working on expanding our product line and hope to have new offerings available shortly.

“In the future, I envision having a dedicated space where we can craft a unique ceremonial experience by combining rongoa and our own indigenous practices, offering our own version of a cacao ceremony.”

Through Rongoānuku, Ani has become the latest member to join the Ngāti Awa Pākihi register, which provides support for businesses owned by those from within iwi.

For more information or to place orders, the Rongoānuku website can be found at: Otherwise, if you want to register your business as a Ngāti Awa Pākihi then you can contact Taihuiranga (PMO) Engagement Officer Courtney Reneti at

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