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In our view this requirement is a ‘no brainer’, it can be a challenge to find non GMO ingredients but not impossible. Research surrounding the long-term effects of GMO both in our food chain and body care are not conclusively reporting that these are safe, therefore we are not interested in being part of any ‘experiment’ that big corporations rule over. It simply is a matter of avoiding GMO at all costs and limit the risks to our health, that of our families and the environmental impact.

Celebrating 30th Anniversary

Viola Organics has been around since 1986 and continues to this day to hand-make in small batches using the same tried and tested formulations.
Why has this way of doing business proven so successful and a constant source of pride and joy for the owner.
Attitudes toward natural and organic products have changed dramatically, says the owner of a skin care company celebrating 35 years in business this year.

Viola Organics managing director Janine Matchitt says it is both encouraging and refreshing to be able to talk about organic and natural products without being on the receiving end of  “odd” glances.

This has not always been the case, she says. When the business first launched in 1986, as Pam’s Herbs by Janine’s mother Pamela, “it was perceived as even more odd, falling into the ‘cardigan wearing, garlic munching’ category of strange people just for trying to educate on the dangers of conventional chemical laden products”.

Since when did organic and natural become “alternative”, Janine asks.

“Chemicals, medicines and additives should be viewed as ‘alternative’, after all we lived naturally and organically for hundreds of years at a time when medicine was viewed as ‘quackery’,” Janine said.

“How on earth did the tables turn so convincingly?”

Viola Organics is a home-based business producing organic skin care products to a mainly New Zealand market with a small percentage of international shoppers, many of them ex-pats.

Janine says customers have adapted well over the years and online shopping is where the majority of  sales come from now.

There was a brief  4 ½ year “experiment” with expansion in 2008 but apart from that home is where the heart is for this business savvy woman who was looking for a new challenge in 2003 after selling another small, successful business.

“Mum was looking to retire, so it became a natural step that I would take over Viola. There were many, many hours of training from mum. I had to make sure I could perfect the proven formulations of our products, and had to learn every step for every formulation before I was allowed the reins.

“Even now, 35 years later, most of the original range is made to the exact same formulation.”

Janine says the expansion “experiment” was a success but it also made it perfectly clear which way she did not want the company to go – “it was not expansion to the detriment of quality”.

In 2012 the business downsized and moved back to Janine’s purpose built workshop and office in Parahaki.

Janine says the biggest challenge they face as a SME (small, medium-sized enterprise) is consistency of supplies.

“As natural and organic ingredients become more mainstream we often face world-wide shortages or we get locked out of the market due to bulk buying by larger manufacturers. Volatile prices and access to packaging is also challenging.”

Janine says she plans to celebrate Viola Organics’ next milestone anniversary in October with its loyal customers in mind, planning a variety of ways to say “thanks for your support”. There will also be a factory shop sale, online specials, a surprise gift for orders through-out the month .
Written by Nick Unkovich       Photo/Michael Cunningham
Published The Northern Advocate 31/8/2016 - amended in  2021


Rockstock labels – environmental choice

Rocktak enviromark
Want to know more then visit www.stonepaper.co.nz

Plants and animals need calcium carbonate to form their skeletons and shells, and even modern mankind could hardly imagine life without calcium carbonate. Almost every product of our day-to-day life contains calcium carbonate or comes into contact with it while being produced.

Calcium carbonate is an exceptional compound. The chemical formula CaCO3 stands for a raw material that exists everywhere in nature, dissolved in rivers and oceans, melted as “cold” carbonatite-lava and solidified as a mineral, dripstone or as parent material for whole mountain ranges.

Most of all, it is so rewarding that Rich Mineral Paper does not require the harvesting of trees to produce the many varied products!

As a result the mills have been able to achieve something that no pulp based paper mills have been able to achieve. Rich Mineral Stone Paper mills create no air pollution, no toxic run off and no water pollution. No acid, base or bleach. No Halogens or phalates.

Due to this unique make up, Rich Mineral Paper (Rockstock) is made with minimal consequences to the environment. Not only is Rich Mineral Paper (Rockstock) a “Tree-Free” product, but also does not require water or use of fossil fuel as part of production. This break through product does not require bleach, or use strong acid to lighten or break down the components used to produce the Paper.

Rich Mineral Paper (Rockstock) is neither pulp nor synthetic made paper. Rich Mineral Paper is a combination largely (80.9%) of mineral powder (Calcium Carbonate) with a small amount (18%approx) of a non-toxic, recyclable, compostable, photodegradable resin (PE) to create an extremely environmentally friendly paper. Boards and other rockstock Products may have different proportions of Stone powder and resin to achieve different performance.

It is also water, mist, grease, anti-moth and insect proof*, freezer grade, and can be heat sealed(certain products apply). Proving to be the perfect material for Viola Organics Ltd new range of labels.

Due to its absorbency attributes, it has superior handling and printing qualities.

Sometimes confused with synthetic paper, Rockstock is neither synthetic nor pulp or fibre based and is termed “Rich Mineral Paper”. Rockstock has qualities of both  pulp and synthetic papers, but more importantly it is much more environmentally friendly than either of the two. The printing qualities and exclusive feel make Rockstock a paper product not seen the likes of previously.

  • It is manufactured from ground down waste stone and off-cuts used in the building industry.  It contains no wood fibre.
  • Rockstock has a low carbon emission
  • It uses significantly less energy to produce than wood fibre paper.
  • It generates no effluent in its manufacture.(airborne or solid)
  • It requires no water, acid, base or bleach during production.
  • Any trimmings or waste paper from production is recycled to make new paper.
  • It is both  recyclable and photo-degradable
  • Compostable (Commercial).
  • 2 product ranges 1. S-Class (Sustainable Range) 2. R-Class (recycled Range

It can be used in most situations where conventional and synthetic paper is used and offers exceptional printing, water proofing and tear resistant qualities. Rockstock claims to be the world’s most environmentally friendly paper.

Rockstock is the registered trade-name of a ground-breaking high quality, coated paper with outstanding environmental values that prints extremely well using standard inks.(No special inks are required.)


A tree free mineral paper manufactured from milled quarry waste using no water and minimal energy–Non-toxic and low GHG emissions. Rockstock is a revolutionary breakthrough in papermaking technology. A tree free mineral paper manufactured from milled quarry waste. Want to know more then visit www.stonepaper.co.nz

In her mother’s footsteps

Janine Matchitt is clearly a minimalist. When you walk into her office/manufacturing laboratory, you know the bells and whistles are not what are important here. If anything, it is the exact opposite.

The room is sterile and clean, and tucked away in one corner is a desktop computer and a simplistic system where orders are taken by phone, email or online, and added to a bulldog clip pile of the day’s deliveries to pack.

Nothing here is over the top or added for embellishment. Janine speaks of her business Viola Organics the same way.

Viola Organics was one of New Zealand’s few Certified organic skin care ranges (2003 - 2021). Recently, the company celebrated its first international franchise agreement, which sees the expansion of the Viola brand into Canada. But the decision to create a franchise agreement offshore did not come easy, Janine says.

“When most businesses are working hard to grow their stockists, grow their ranges, add more to everything they do, I am very careful to ensure that expansion does not water down the work that we are doing here. I don’t want to grow rapidly and expand to a huge number of markets. For me, the franchise was about finding someone as passionate about the Viola formulations as we are, and not about mass-producing something of a sub-standard quality,” she says.

And Janine should know – the company was formed in 1986 by her mother Pamela after a cancer diagnosis resulted in an organic, clean lifestyle becoming more than just a way of life, but a way to ensure she was doing everything she could to heal her body.

Thankfully the cancer went away, but the business idea was well and truly formed.

Janine still has the original catalogue her mother would produce each season for her loyal customers – hand-typed and stapled with a faded blue cover. At that stage the catalogue included organic herbs and spices too, as in the late 80s sourcing organic products in Whangarei and throughout the North Island was a little hard to come by.

“I look at this catalogue that mum has created and the hours it must have taken her. Each product she created would be made only in small batches to retain purity and quality. Then she would fill jars with it, and for a finishing touch, glue a dried viola flower to the top of the lid. It really was quite sweet,” Janine recalls.

There were no online sales back then, so market [stalls] were the way to go. Popularity for the organic, natural products rose and soon the catalogue was being posted around the country for eager new customers. Fast forward to 2003, and Janine was looking for a new challenge after selling another small business she had built up to glory and sold at its prime.

“I was looking for a new challenge and mum was looking to retire, so it became a natural step that I would take over Viola,” she says. “I didn’t just get given it, though – there were many, many hours of training from mum. I had to make sure I could perfect the proven product formulations, and had to learn every step for every formulation before I was allowed the reins.”

Janine took over as managing director of the company and had a few ideas of what was needed to happen to bring it into the new age. Firstly, all records had been kept by hand, with not a computer in sight. “I had to load every file, every customer name, every database, and bring the business online. A website was created so we would make it easier for our customers who want to shop from the Internet, and I researched becoming Organic certified.”

Viola Organics

The Organic certification process is stringent, with continuous audit processes part of the ongoing work with the organisation to ensure the company is worthy of using the title. Expansion has always been part of Janine’s plan since taking over the reins – however, not in the traditional format that many people might assume. Firstly, she swears her products will never be mass produced or sold through big name stockists, and she doesn’t like the idea of a factory or machines creating the products Viola has become known for.

“It sounds old-fashioned or antiquated but I will not apologise for that. Having someone make the formulations to license doesn’t sit well with me. I can’t check everything before it goes out".

“It is about maintaining my ethical stance, and that comes from how Viola was created and founded in the first place. It was through a need for something that was natural, pure, healthy for the inside rather than just being a large company trying to sell as much as possible.” The new Canada operation shares the same thoughts.

 “While I would not rule out more franchise agreements, it would have to be with the right person, in the right country.”

Organic Certification & What it means for you

Update on our certification status. Janine reports; In August 2021 we decided to withdraw from Organic Certification as it was not serving us to the degree we had hoped. International sales require certification but domestic sales do not, therefore due to the high cost of certification (certified for 17 consecutive years) we have chosen to change the way we spend our profits. Instead of paying for the use of an Organic sticker we are now donating more profit to a number of charities. We will continue to use Organic Certified ingredients in our formula's and assure you that nothing is changing in that respect.

The world is increasingly tuning into the idea that chemicals are not good for your body. As such, it is natural for you to seek ways to make sure the food you eat and the products you use come from organic sources. Organic certification is a way of proving that products are organic, which in turn allows you to make intelligent choices about the products you use. Companies who use the label have to go through a rigorous testing process, and understanding more about it can help you determine whether the products associated with this label are right for you.

Why Organic?

All farmers have to control growth, pests and diseases in some way. Organic farmers use naturally occurring products to achieve this, such as manure for their crops. In contrast, non-organic farmers may use chemicals and medicines you do not want to consume every day, such as growth hormones for meat. Many of the effects organic fans worry about are both short and long-term. Overuse of antibiotics has led to resistant bacteria, and there is evidence to suggest that the long-term build-up of growth hormones and pesticides can disrupt your endocrine system; that means they play havoc with your hormones.

Organic Beauty and Why it Matters

Your skin is the largest organ on your body, which is why you need to take good care of it in the right way. What you put onto your skin matters, and although the skin acts as a barrier between you and the outside world, it can absorb small amounts of chemicals. There are no legal requirements when it comes to using an organic label on a beauty product. This is why relying on the organic certification process is the simplest way to make sure you are applying the right products to your skin.

In recent years, the media has highlighted the link between non-organic beauty products and certain skin conditions. There is evidence to suggest that these products may exacerbate the symptoms associated with eczema, psoriasis, and similar conditions.

How Organic Certification Works

Technically, any farmer could claim to grow organic food and you would not know whether their farming and beauty standards meet the minimum requirements. That is why regulatory bodies  exist: they inspect the farms and beauty product producers and make sure the practices stand up to the standards you expect as a consumer.

Organic certification process allows beauty product producers to claim that standards meet international and domestic standards. In order for this to happen, they must meet the following requirements:

  • All the ingredients used in the product have been assessed to ensure they meet organic standards
  • The labels on the products are clearly detailed and honest, allowing you to make an informed choice about what you are buying
  • The non-organic ingredients present in the product are only there because there were no organic versions available
  • The processed ingredients the manufacturer used are assessed

Green Goddesses featured Canvas magazine NZ Herald 26th Sept 2009

Green Goddesses featured Canvas magazine NZ Herald
Traditionally new businesses were set up primarily to provide their owners with a profit. Making money was the key motivator and other, more meaningful, altruistic considerations seldom figured. But today increasing numbers of women are going into business for much more wholesome reasons than merely making a buck. These are the so-called green goddesses: women with great ambitions to save the planet, keep us healthy and make us feel good – preferably all at the same time. writes Shelly Bridgeman of NZ Herald.