Tetupuariki Tetupuariki says while he manufactures and sells the products, Aunty Pat was “the brains behind the whole thing”.
“She was around coconuts all her life and used to experiment with different ways to use it and she came up with this. It’s pretty amazing really,” says Tetupuariki.
Coconuts mostly come off family land and the whole process of making the candy is done by hand.
“It’s a labour of love to get this product as good as it is”.
Tetupuariki says the Coconut Candy has gone down really well with tourists.
“They know the health benefits and they are used to products like this. Cook Islands people are starting to come around to it too. But it’s the children who just hang around like chickens. Even though it’s not overly sweet, the candy tastes delicious and to them it is real candy and they love it.”
Tetupuariki says the fruit from “the tree of life” has many well-known health benefits. It is high in fibre, has antiviral properties, is an antifungal, antibacterial and also an anti-parasitic agent.
It also contains vitamins, minerals and amino acids. The saturated fat is a medium chain fatty acid which is used for energy rather than producing fat. So it stays off artery walls and is actually good for heart health.
The healthy snack alternative comes in a range of six savoury and sweet flavours. Tetupuariki’s favourite is honey cinnamon, but he says the ginger flavoured candy has just as many, if not more health benefits.
“It’s very soothing on the stomach.”
Tetupuariki says people also come to his stall to try husking their own coconuts.
“They love doing that, learning the beautiful characteristics of the coconut. It’s a gift to mankind and a beautiful thing.”