Archeus is a term coined in the 16th century to mean the vital force in nature, man and the universe and my philosophy is to work with nature in a way that honours traditions of plant wisdom and artisan craftsmanship. At Archeus we create products for skincare and well-being and give back to the Hawke’s Bay landscape through our plant conservation activity.
I am Georgina and in 2011 I was working for the United Nations Environment Programme on a study into The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity and this got me thinking about how I could build a business that works with nature, and gives back to it. I envisaged building a business that ‘walked the talk’ of some of the global conversations taking place around how to manage our impacts on the environment.
Archeus was launched in Wellington in 2013 with the aim of handcrafting natural skin care and healing products for humans and animals.
Archeus isn’t just about making products, it’s about growing medicinal plants, managing land in a way that ensures ecological resilience and creates havens for biodiversity, and ensuring that ecosystem impacts and dependencies are factored into all Archeus decisions.
I knew that my vision was not an urban one and that knowledge inspired me to move back to Hawke’s Bay. From a business perspective, the region has some truly great qualities – you get more bang for your buck in terms of real estate, it has terrific transport links by road, air and the port.
There are excellent services for land-based business ventures and it has the climate and conditions for growing things. But for me it has something else – it gave me so much as I was growing up, and for me it feels right to come back and try to build a business that will in turn give back to nature and contribute to the region.
I feel that locating in HB ensures that not only can I put my notions of ecological sustainability into practice, but I am also using every bit of my life experience to make my vision real.
In shaping Archeus, I based my thinking and product development on traditional knowledge of ways we have interacted with nature for health and well-being throughout the ages. My starting point was developing a range of handcrafted natural and organic products, but is growing to incorporate broader ideas of how we can use nature wisdom for modern living through products, ritual and learning.
I wanted Archeus to give back to nature from the outset and so I established a Raukawa Tree conservation project – which is inspired by the Raukawa district I grew up in and the cultural relevance of that area and that tree to Maori. The project is a way of saying thank you to the hills, the bush and the pa sites that nurtured me.
Like nature, Archeus and myself are both constantly developing and evolving. Nature has taught me that what may be a weed to one person, can be something of cultural, food or medicinal value to another – we just need to learn how to look at the natural world across a range of values, to appreciate and work with what is around us.