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Our stories

Steve Insley and Diana Hardwick-Smith.

Diana’s story began in the 60s. Diana Hardwick-Smith and Steve Insley - Waimarino Natural Health

It was the era when the daily ¼ pint of milk was subsidized by the government. It was also the era when mothers provided daily milk puddings, because it was believed that milk delivered the best calcium for our bones.

This has since been questioned.

I spent my childhood winters in bed with bronchial asthma and suffered chronic severe eczema. I hated school so much, because I missed so much of it, and learnt techniques of persuasion so my mother wouldn’t send me to school. I grew up on antibiotics and topical steroid creams.

One day when I was 12 years old, a book came to me.

It was written by Dr Bernard Jenson, Father of Naturopathy. In his book he wrote about the connection between dairy and eczema.

From this day onwards I stopped dairy “cold Turkey” and never looked back. I grew to love school and learning and I developed a passion for life.

I decided I didn’t want any children I brought into the world, to suffer the way I did. In order to achieve this, I learnt that health of a child starts before conception. This led me to study Midwifery and then Naturopathy.

Steve’s story started when he was 21 yrs old, with $500 in his pocket and an idea.

He started to collect cardboard from businesses. The idea grew and he grew his company from $500 to a multi million dollar business with 2 partners and 250 staff.

He called it Paper Reclaim (the yellow and green trucks driving in Auckland still collecting recycling from businesses) and later created another company called GraceField Papers.

Steve Insley and Diana Hardwick-SmithAlong the way as he said, he was thinking about the planet, but forgot about himself. When in hospital for a minor toe operation, he contracted MRSA - the hospital bug.

After a 5 yr battle, both legs had been amputated below the knees. During his 5 years in and out of hospital, his marriage came to an end, his partners gave up on him, he lost his businesses and was declared bankrupt.

When we met a few years later, he was confidently walking on 2 prosthetic legs, and giving motivational talks. He was volunteering at the hospital talking with selected patients who were avoiding amputation - at their risk.

He would walk into the ward, all of his 6 feet 5 and talk to them about hope.

I could see the passion in Steve to create business again, but this time he wanted to look after people. He could see what I was doing with my Naturopathy and had an idea again. A website and online store was created.

Initially we sold other companies' coconut oil, and before long we were importing our own, with our own brand and label.

Over the years we have had great feedback from customers about our service and the quality of the coconut oil.

Steve’s philosophy was to reach the 80% of the population who would not normally go to a Naturopath or Health Food Store. He also wanted to keep prices down so our coconut oil was affordable.

We achieved that by not having credit card facilities and having free freight.  It grew that the majority of our customers were pensioners and/or had a rural delivery address.

Due to technology advancing, it became apparent we needed to move with the times and introduce credit card facilities and make our website multiple device friendly.

Our Local Organics MangawhaiIn 2013, the online store was doing so well, Steve suggested we look at opening a physical shop and to increase our stock.

In September 2017, we opened Our Local Organics in Mangawhai. It was an organic and allergy friendly takeaway food shop with bulk bins and fresh produce. There was no gluten, dairy, eggs or refined sugar in the shop.

It was very popular with the locals and visitors to Mangawhai, but unfortunately with the stresses involved, Steve became very unwell and we closed the doors 4 months later. Steve passed away 8 months later, having struggled to get his health and vitality back.

This new revamped online store website is to honor Steve Insley, and his passion to help others, before attending to his own needs.