In Maori language "Aroha" is a word meaning love for the land and its people. In 2007, Mark made his first batch of Aroha cordial which he made from wild elderflowers grown on the Canterbury Plains. Its colour was a beautiful gold and it tasted delicious.
Many years before, Mark’s mother picked up a French hitchhiker from the roadside. The Frenchman showed her how to use the elderflower, which was abundant and in full flower at that time. Together they turned the elderflower into a delicious drink which the whole family enjoyed.
Intrigued by its history and pleased by its taste, Mark couldn't believe that elderflower was not more popular in New Zealand. He learned that the elder is not native to New Zealand but had been introduced into our land by the early European settlers to be used in their herbal medicines.
Mark's great great grandparents were amongst the first pioneers and after some searching, he found the recipe for Elderflower Cordial in an old family recipe book.
Mark came across the taste of the elderflower again in Scandanavia where they brew it into a cider. He became an advocate for the elderflower and by the following spring he had gathered a team of nimble-fingered friends to pick the flowers from the Canterbury Plains. Each evening, they would gather the day’s bounty and produce elderflower cordial using the traditional recipe. When spring came to an end, the pickers celebrated the harvest with elderflower cider and lots of music.
Mark took his Elderflower Cordial to the best delis around New Zealand and they thought it tasted fabulous. With more and more customers asking for elderflower drinks, Mark developed a range of elderflower sparkling juices for cafes. He used the sweet taste of the elderflower to balance the acid in fruits such as feijoa, rhubarb and blackcurrant. They won some great awards and Mark was spurred on to expand the Aroha Cordial family to include a Rhubarb, Gooseberry, Ginger Honey & Lemon, Wild Rosehip, and Quince & Lime.
These new flavours caught on fast amongst discerning drinkers throughout the country, and people were happy to see the flavours of the past being brought back to life.
The most recent addition to the range has been a range has been the four Still juices. A Ginger Lemon Honey, a non-alcoholic Sauvignon Blanc & Saffron, an Apple & Pear, and a world first, the Elderflower & Greencurrant (a kind of albino blackcurrant) which got judged the best drink in New Zealand!
The team of Aroha pickers had such a great time that they now come back to Canterbury from different corners of the globe especially for the elderflower harvest. We offer thanks to them and also to the fine food stores and cafes for their support. Thank you also to the French hitchhiker. Thanks to all the wonderful customers who choose to drink Aroha.