Living remotely ‘off grid’ in the ngahere while honouring ancestral practices brings a unique set of challenges for a young wāhine who sees herself as a kohacreator.
Mokoia Rata (25) runs Kohatrade, a whare for organic, sustainable, eco-friendly rongoa products that grow in abundance from Papatūanuku from her puni on whānau whenua on the shores of Lake Taupō.
She doesn’t see herself as an entrepreneur, but as a Kohacreator; someone who uses indigenous rongoā as a gift to the world for healing purposes.
Mokoia faces added costs, and challenges, in running Kohatrade including difficulties with internet, limited electricity, unreliable and expensive transport as well as the pressure to conform to a colonised way of life.
She was part of the inaugural He Kākano panel where Kohatrade received $10,000 dollars to support handmade products that are made with tikanga Māori that have been passed down through the generations.
Mokoia says the funding helps with costs and allows her to work remotely to “increase product sales and services, be more efficient and pre-sell as harvests ripen.”
Kohatrade has a strong ethical focus and Mokoia says, “we always take only what is needed and return back to the whenua double what we take, increasing the growth of native flora.”
She says, “I have a backlog of buyers so it’s going very well. I’m absolutely grateful for the support especially as we went into the colder winter and the pūtea came just in time.” Mokoia was also part of our Te Kete Aronui case studies.