Raglan Coconut Yoghurt initiatives both aim for downstream rewards

June looks set to be a big month for Raglan Coconut Yoghurt on two fronts –  each offering downstream benefits.

It’s their second fundraiser month as a sponsor of an ambitious tree-planting project along the Te Onetea Stream, which is an hour’s drive away near Te Kauwhata.

And they’ll also get to test the waters wider afield come early June when they showcase their coconut yoghurt products across the ditch at a new trade expo in Sydney.

Local couple Latesha Randall and Seb Walter launched their lactose and dairy-free yoghurt – which works well for people with allergies – in New Zealand just two years ago after developing it at home in their kitchen.

Now they supply stockists all over the country from what was once the old Bow Street Motors garage downtown.

But they’re also into “doing good”, as it says on their Facebook page. And this year they’ve set themselves a big goal which is “to raise enough funds to help Million Metres (streams project) plant 1700 trees along the country’s rivers”.

They’re well on the way to their target. A first fundraiser in March saw enough jars of Big Yoghi sold to plant 740 trees in the Te Onetea Stream area, Latesha told the Chronicle. And they’ve still got two more fundraiser months, in June and September.

The jars are labelled on the lid with their fundraising sticker, and 50 cents from each one sold is donated to the cause.

The coconut yoghurt production team is also looking forward to going along and “mucking in” during one of the organisation’s planting days, Latesha told the Chronicle.

“We are really happy to be helping Million Metres,” she adds. “Agricultural runoff and habitat loss is a huge problem in New Zealand; lots of folks realise this and are giving up dairy and switching to our products instead.

“Tree-planting is another way we can help make New Zealand ‘clean and green’ like it’s perceived to be but actually requires a lot of work to achieve.”

Te Onetea Stream connects the Waikato River to Lake Waikare, the largest lake in the lower Waikato River area.  Rural communities and iwi in the area say there’s been a steady decline in water quality, and the restoration project will help return Lake Waikare to its former state.

Meanwhile Raglan Coconut Yoghurt  is now also busy preparing for next month’s Fantastic Food and Drink Show at Sydney’s International Convention Centre – co-located with the Naturally Good Expo – where a stall has been booked for the weekend event.

It’s an opportunity to get their specialty yoghurt showcased on the Australian market alongside local and regional food artisans, purveyors, importers and entrepreneurs in the industry.

Edith Symes