For the past decade, I have taken a keen interest in nutrition and now feel reasonably qualified in talking about vitamins and minerals as well as herbs and foods that help protect the body from the plethora of toxins we are all exposed to on a daily basis.

Our skin is our largest organ so it goes without saying, what we put on it is vitally important to overall health. The various preparations we plaster on ourselves are all absorbed into the body where harm can be caused to the organs as well as disrupt the thousands of actions our bodies undertake every moment to keep us in a balanced state of health. I am diligent in checking the contents in the moisturizers and body cleansing products I use. It is amazing how many toxic chemicals are found in most of the cosmetics sold over the counter.


Enterprising Auckland business woman, Tanne Snowden, discovered this when she was recovering from a health issue. She checked the skincare products she was using. Despite being made by reputable international companies, Tanne was shocked to discover they all contained ingredients that disrupted hormones and the human endocrine system. Being health conscious, the enterprising kiwi decided to make her own cosmetic range containing only ingredients supplied by nature and mostly found in New Zealand.

A small number of local cosmetic companies are producing product with natural ingredients but not the combination that Tanne was looking for. She spent two years researching powerful natural New Zealand ingredients with nutrients that would keep the skin in top condition without harming the body in any way. She came up with the name “Tronque” (meaning trunk in reference to the whole body from neck down). After sourcing the latest technology to create her cosmetic range, she set out on a quest to find the right native botanicals. Organic was the focus from the start!

(Ceidrik Heward)


Tanne visited some of New Zealand’s remotest areas searching for the special ingredients found in nature that she wanted in her products.

Mamaku is one of the tallest tree ferns in the world. It can reach 20 metres (65feet) above the ground. One of New Zealand’s rarest birds, the beautiful little Stitchbird (Hihi in Maori) protect their eggs with fibres collected from the new fronds of the fern, and use the fern’s trunk to collect matted aerial roots to form the foundations of their nests. Mamaku trunks also act as a perch for seedlings of several native plant species. As well as this, the fallen fronds provide rich soil for larger trees to establish. The gel in the stems that feed the fronds have moisturizing qualities and when applied to the skin, tighten and protects it from the elements, so Tanne chose it as one of her ingredients. She also includes Wakame seaweed from the Marlborough Sounds which stimulate collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid production.

Kiwifruit and manuka honey are two other natural ingredients found in Tronque cosmetics. New Zealand’s manuka honey contains hydrogen peroxide and high levels of the sugar methylglyoxal which kills bacteria and speeds up the skin’s healing processes. This ingredient soothes irritated skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Kiwifruit contains alpha hydroxy fruit acid (AHA) and is richer in antioxidants than oranges. This natural ingredient protects the skin from free radicals and pollution damage.

New Zealand is also renowned among wine drinkers for the quality of its Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wines. Tanne’s research pointed to the benefit of including extracts from these grapes in her products. Pinot Noir has high levels of resveratrol which has many proven health benefits. New Zealand’s AgResearch has discovered that Sauvignon Blanc grape extract combats protein damage from UV rays, so is useful in protecting the skin from sun damage. Including these grape extracts in a New Zealand developed skin care product is innovative and is of course, beneficial to both the skin, and general health.

Apart from these health-providing New Zealand ingredients, Tanne has also included a number of other natural ingredients found in nature in other parts of the world. Bringing them altogether in one exciting new Kiwi created cosmetic range is another example of the Kiwi ‘can do’ attitude which has made New Zealand such a star on the world stage as far as innovation is concerned.

Tronque is beautifully packaged to attract the discerning customer and Tanne hopes to have it available in the USA and Europe next year.

I love writing about Kiwis taking on the world with innovative inventions and products. I’m confident with so many people becoming more health conscious that this new Kiwi skin care product, with ingredients sourced in the New Zealand wilderness, will be well received in the international market.


Staying on the health theme, but something completely different, the spa boat is a truly quirky Kiwi invention.

The ‘hot tug’ also known as “Spartacus”, contains a spa holding about 1800 litres of water, with neon lights that glow in the spa. An impressive sound system rounds out the equipment, all located in the hull of a pontoon (only a Kiwi could come up with such a quirky idea!). Initially, the craft was designed to be smaller, but regulations meant it had to be more than 8m so people on board were not required to wear life jackets. The gas-powered pool holds 12 people and takes four hours to heat. “It’s a New Zealand first, nothing like it around. It’s a pretty cool machine, really.” designer Anthony Robertson told the media.


Anthony, who manages the Pisa Moorings’ Heritage Collection Resort on Lake Dunstan in Central Otago, and his friend Andrew Dawson were sitting around the table one night, drinking rum. “We thought, we enjoy boat parties, and we love spa parties, so how cool would it be if we could have spa-boat parties?” From his experience working on racing boats, Anthony started with a basic sketch, then the two friends built the boat from aluminium, and ended up with a pontoon then put a spa into the hull. They just made it up as they went. The job took eight months and included plenty of trial-and-error lessons. “We didn’t even know how it was going to float in the beginning.” Spartacus docks directly under the Pisa Moorings suites which have been built over the water, so you can leave your room and step down into the spa pool on the only vessel of its kind in the world.

From upmarket healthy cosmetics with natural NZ ingredients that have never been combined before, to a quirky floating spa-boat, it never ceases to amaze me just how inventive Kiwis really are. When they come up with a new idea and put their mind to work then undertake the hard graft to bring it to reality, its usually a win/win for everyone.

Ceidrik Heward

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