24 Apr 2017

Kava has 'potential beyond ceremonies and bars'

3:11 pm on 24 April 2017

A Tongan kava supplier and distributor in New Zealand is urging more Pacific people to develop kava's economic potential beyond traditional ceremonies and kava bars.

Kava Haus Limited director, Koloa Hau

Koloa Hau. Photo: RNZ/ Sara Vui-Talitu

Kava Haus Limited director, Koloa Hau, said the root crop was a gift to the Pacific region because that is where it grows best.

He says kava's potential was still hugely under developed and more can be done to package the crop creatively for a wide range of consumers and markets.

He said Pacific people laughed at him when he first developed micronized kava, where the crop's coarse fibres are removed to leave a smooth texture and taste.

"I see the people outside of the community and one of the things we kind of need to talk about is to see the potential of kava outside of the kava bowl. Huge potential. But because we don't see the potential, there are other people outside of the Pacific who are developing innovative products and we are absolutely missing out."

Kava circle

Photo: RNZ/ Sara Vui-Talitu

Mr Hau said he knew of overseas companies trying to develop innovative products made from kava, but it would be much better for Pacific people to develop their own ones first.

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