BDÉT: An innovative New Zealand product recognised on a global stage

Billie Jo Hohepa-Ropiha’s future is about to change for the better.

On a mission to eliminate a trillion wet wipes globally

The BDÉT founder is one of the five SheEO venture winners for 2021. SheEO is a worldwide network where women and non-binary people aid each other to thrive in business. As a winner, Billie will receive interest-free loans for five years, business mentoring and pro-bono legal and PR support.

Her product is a natural and sustainable foam that a user can apply to toilet paper to turn it into a wet wipe

“How can people use dry toilet paper? It’s weird to me, but it’s not a subject you talk about,” Hohepa-Ropiha said. But she is also concerned about the environmental impact that traditional wet wipes have on Aotearoa’s waterways and oceans.

“Wet wipes are a huge problem for wastewater pipes.”

Her product is a solution to the millions of wet wipes that end up in our waterways and landfills each year. Each of these wet wipes takes decades to break down. They can wash out to the ocean where they can even be ingested by ocean life.

Learn more about BDÉT on KIWIFRENCH’s journal.

She has also been asked to speak at Te Aratini, the first-ever Festival of Indigenous and Tribal Ideas at a World Expo, at Expo 2020 Dubai at the end of November, about the business.

You can purchase BDÉT products on KIWIFRENCH here:

Anabelle Cheeses: French-inspired, New Zealand made cheeses

While the dairy industry is omnipresent in New Zealand, the quality of cheese varies. But Anabelle Cheeses creates high-quality award-winning products.

From Working Holiday Visa to entrepreneuship

Anabelle David first arrived in New Zealand in 2007 at the age of 23. She had come halfway around the world on a working holiday visa and a master’s in food technology. Ten years later, she is still here and a proud kiwi. However, she hasn’t forgotten her roots.

Fine Fresh Cheeses

Anabelle Cheeses combines fresh and natural New Zealand ingredients and inspiration from the French products fromage frais, fromage blanc, crème fraiche. Her products come from primarily three animals: cows, goats, and sheep.

Anabelle makes her products using A2 milk – a type of milk that contains primarily A2 beta-casein protein. Milk that is high in A2 beta-casein is mainly found in breeds that originated in the Channel Islands and Southern France. These include Guernsey, Jersey, Charolais, and Limousin cows. They are all natural and fermented with live bacteria. These types of cheese are typically known as lactic cheese – they have a low lactose content, are slightly tangy and are much softer than traditional cheeses.

But her range has expanded out to include some kitchen staples. Anabelle now sells crème fraiche, fromage blanc and yogurt.

Award winning cheeses

On top of that, she is committed to sustainable production and distribution. All her products come in reusable glass jars, and every time you re-order, they will collect your empty jars and swap them for full ones. For each jar returned, customers will get a discount voucher to use on their next order.

New Zealand’s cheese community has certainly sat up to take notice of Anabelle Cheeses. At the 2020 NZ Cheese Awards, her Goat Fromage Frais, Sheep Fromage Blanc, Sheep Fromage Frais won gold. In addition, her Sheep Fromage Frais won silver at the 2020 Food Producer Awards.

Check out her range on KIWIFRENCH.

Lete: Sustainable, environmentally conscious activewear

Fast fashion is destroying the planet. But one New Zealand company is moving the activewear industry towards a more sustainable future.

Fast Fashion: An Environmental Disaster

Fast fashion is defined as the low-cost, mass production of garments that borrow style ideas from catwalk fashion. These mass-produced garments are sold at high street clothing stores and online retailers and are available almost immediately. The immediate availability of these garments is great at satisfying consumer demand but is a disaster for the environment and the people who make and sell them.

Consumer habits are changing

More often, we want values for money rather than value for money. In 2018, Dan Wilson and Paulina Ciurzynska founded the active and leisurewear company Lete to meet the needs of humans and the environment.

They make their products from bamboo rather than cotton. It is the most sustainable fabric for clothes because it uses three times less water than cotton when growing. In addition, nearly 90% of Lete products are made from a type of bamboo called tanboocel – a biodegradable fibre that possesses anti-bacterial qualities that prevent germs and bacteria from making themselves at home in the activewear.

Lete has both men’s and women’s collections. However, they also sell a bamboo coffee cup and a sleek glass water bottle with a bamboo head. Check out their collection on KIWIFRENCH.

Lete Connect and Protect and Foundation

In addition to selling sustainable activewear, coffee cups and drink bottles, Lete is also helping to replenish tropical rainforests around the world. Dan and Paulina teamed up with HalfCut, an organization that is committed to reversing deforestation.

For every sale, Lete will donate $2.50 towards buying back forest. HalfCut matches that $2.50, resulting in $5.00 going towards buying back the equivalent of two square meters.

Last year, HalfCut raised $348,096 and protected 139,238 square metres of the Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, Australia.

AF Drinks: The sexiest alternative to alcohol

After deciding to give up drinking for a while, founder Lisa King could not find a good alternative to an alcoholic drink. This motivated her to start AF Drinks, a socially acceptable alcohol-free alternative.

G&T without the G

AF Drinks began with Lisa’s favourite – a classic gin and tonic, appropriately titled Classic AF. Even though she is a happy non-drinker, Lisa missed her G&Ts. The ingredients are juniper, quinine, a crisp spritz of lemon, and Afterglow™ (more on Afterglow™ later), yet, even without the alcohol, Classic AF still has the same delicious taste as an alcoholic gin and tonic.

Their G&T range soon expanded to include several familiar flavours:

Cucumber AF: The freshness of the cucumber compliments the bittersweet taste of the tonic and tang of the gin [shop here]

Pink AF: named after both the colour and the ingredients, this drink mixes the classic G&T with pink grapefruit and rose for an invigorating cocktail [shop here]

However, not content to limit their non-alcoholic drinks range to gin, AF Drinks released their take on a Cuba Libre and a Dark and Stormy.

Cuba Libre: Spanish for “Free Cuba”, it originated at the start of the 20th century in Cuba. The rum, Coke and lime cocktail soon became the drink of the Cuban independence movement [shop here]

Dark and Stormy: Originating in Bermuda in the 1990s, the dark and stormy mixes rum and ginger ale, with lemon and lime [shop here]

Each of these drinks contains no more than 0.5% alcohol. They still have the delicious taste of their namesakes, but without the alcohol. However, one ingredient featured in every of AF Drinks’ products is Afterglow™ – something designed to recreate the warmth of drinking alcohol.


AF Drinks found that one of the missing ingredients in most non-alcoholic beverages is “the pleasant warmth that comes from sipping on a glass of wine or a boozy cocktail.” Thus, they created Afterglow™ – a non-alcoholic way to mimic the pleasure of drinking alcohol. AF Drinks are coy on the ingredients; however, they reassure consumers that it is completely natural, safe, vegan, and gluten-free.

Founder Lisa King even affirms the effectiveness of Afterglow™ “Over a period, I can feel my face going red, even though they have no alcohol; it’s a really great, adult, complex drink.”

Edi&body: A transformative skincare with a real shot of NZ whiskey

Starting as a swimwear range in 2016, Ed&i body branched out to skincare three years later. However, unlike other beauty brands in the market, the brand created a skincare system and routine follow when applying their products.

100% natural & effective

Ed&i body (and face range) make their products using completely natural ingredients and are 100% vegan. Their face care range – appropriately titled “Morning Coffee” – contains French green clay, kaolin clay, coffee seed extract, jojoba oil, caffeine and bambusa vulgaris stem powder taken from bamboo. And the results speak for themselves. Edna received multiple testimonies from satisfied customers who proclaim that Ed&i’s range has helped them with facial eczema.

« I don't want to see my self as an influencer »

Creator Edna Swart does not like the tag of influencer. “I want to stand strong for my business. I don’t want to see myself as an influencer.” Initially starting off as a side hustle, the South African born entrepreneur used her own capital to launch her company Ed&i with her former partner after spending years working in banking. Yet, her constant daily routine while putting on her swimwear encouraged Edna to branch out to a body care range.

A routine of love for your skin

Ed&i’s body care range has a unique step-by-step process where they label each bottle “before” “during” “after” and “always” so the user knows when to apply the contents. For a body care novice, this process is a lifesaver. Moreover, on their website, the user can learn the contents of each bottle, and, more importantly, why they should apply them in that order.

But, the most interesting aspects of their body care range are the ingredients. While their products contain traditional and natural ingredients, the most unorthodox yet effective is whiskey. Each of their products contains a shot of Thomson New Zealand Whiskey. “The antiseptic properties of whiskey control the excess oil on the skin and help prevent pimples and acne. Whiskey can even fight the existing acne and soothe any kind of inflammation on the skin by removing the bacteria and dirt” said Edna.

Author: David Williams

Honest Chocolat: Meet Matakana famous Maître chocolatier

Honest Chocolat started off as a side project for Nicolas and Emily Bonnaud. “Chef Nico” is a French world-class pastry chef who had worked at Sketch, a Michelin star restaurant in London. Emily, who originated from the UK, is an interior designer by trade. Their talents meshed well when it came to creating and designing beautiful chocolates.

Honest Chocolat has attracted plenty of fans and even more awards

New Zealand has certainly sat up and taken notice of Honest Chocolat.
Nicolas and Emily moved out from their Snell’s Beach garage in 2017 to a shop in Matakana village. They even opened a shop in Commercial Bay in June 2020.
Not only do consumers love their creations, but the judges do too. Honest Chocolat’s Salted Caramel and Buckwheat Milk Chocolate Tablet won the best in class at the 2017 New Zealand chocolate awards.

One of their most extraordinary creations is water ganache filling for their bonbons

“The end result is very clean. There’s a freshness coming through, it’s not coating the tongue and the palate as much as a traditional bonbon. And it’s not as sweet because we add minimal sugar to it” said Nicolas Bonnaud.

Ganache is traditionally made from chocolate and cream; however, Honest Chocolat utilises chocolate and water. Nicolas Bonnaud likes this method because the original flavour of the chocolate stands out more and is not overwhelmed by the cream and sugar.
By not adding cream, that also makes their bonbons vegan.
Honest Chocolat

A tree planted for every bag of raw cacao sold

All Honest Chocolat’s cacao originates from ethical sources – the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The growers use sustainable techniques and plant a tree for every bag of raw cacao sold. They refrain from adding any preservatives, extra sugar, and, especially important for the duo, they do not use any palm oil. For the maître chocolatier, this allows the flavours to come through even stronger because they are not being drowned by too much butter and sugar.
Author: David Williams

BDÉT: Made In New Zealand From Real French Parfum

Billie Jo Hohepa-Ropiha developed the personal hygiene range to feel fresh after going to the toilet. But at the same time, BDÉT reduces our reliance on disposable wet wipes that clog up our waterways and take many years to biodegrade.

A foam wash for the future

Pikipiko is the Māori name for the curled silver fern. While these can traditionally be eaten, BDÉT infuses the natural scents and oils of pikopiko into their products.

BDÉT has two key products: foam wash and bathroom perfume.

The foam wash is a natural and biodegradable alternative to wet wipes. After going number two, apply two pumps of foam wash to a new piece of toilet paper and use that to clean your behind. The ultra-gentle and soft foam becomes a highly effective cleanser for your bottom. Also, it has natural scents that leaves you feeling and smelling fresh.

Founder Billie Jo Hohepa-Ropiha is of French and Māori ancestry. Both parts of her background are reflected in BDÉT’s products. The name is a play on the bathroom sanitary receptacle “bidet” – a French word. Plus, each of the products have a name in Te Reo.

BDÉT has worked with a French parfumier based in Auckland to find the perfect natural smell for the bathroom

The bathroom perfume offers a natural and fresh smell as opposed to the more sterile and industrial smelling toilet sprays. Billie Jo worked with a French parfumier based in Auckland to find the perfect natural smell for the bathroom.

“For the BDÉT Room Perfume, I wanted to create a product that smelt beautiful like perfume. So I decided to create a 100% natural spray that was made out of real perfume, and what better perfume can you get than from France.”

Their two scents are newanewa and pikopiko.

In Māori, newanewa means “smooth” or “soft to the touch” so the scent is reminiscent of freshly washed linen with aromatic hints of light woody frankincense, mint, and a hint of freshly squeezed lime. Meanwhile, pikopiko smells of slight hints of native Silver Fern with bolder fruity tones of tropical mango and freshly cut coconuts.

An environmentally friendly alternative to disposable wipes

Although very easy to use, “flushable” wet wipes will take around 6 months to break down. While regular wet wipes contain micro pieces of plastic and take much longer to break down. That was not good enough for Billie Jo.

BDÉT’s foam wash is eco-friendly, made from 98.9% natural ingredients and is plant-based and has no animal-based ingredients.

Land Rover South Island Adventure: Explore the unexplored parts of New Zealand

Discover the untouched parts of New Zealand’s South Island during this seven-day four-wheel self-guided driving tour with Once Upon a Trip New Zealand. Visitors will drive off the beaten path, crisscrossing Aotearoa’s largest island while immersing themselves in beautiful unseen landscapes not usually encountered by regular tourists.

Mountains, roads, glaciers and rivers

The Māori name for the South Island of New Zealand is “Te Waka a Māui” – the canoe of Māui. That name comes from the ancient Māori legend of the god Maui fishing up the North Island. While the North Island was the fish, the South Island was his waka (and Stewart Island was the anchor).

The South Island is the largest of the 3 islands that make up New Zealand, and the 12th largest island in the world. The Southern Alps run from North to South through the island, and because of its unique location straddling the Pacific and Australian fault lines, the South Island is teaming with geographical wonders.

During this trip, visitors will be able to explore these wonders by brand new Land Rover Discovery. No previous experience driving a four-wheel drive is required on this adventure.

From day one to day four

On the first day, visitors will depart from Christchurch and drive up the east coast of the South Island through Marlborough wine country towards Blenheim. On the way, they will have the chance to take in the beautiful scenery and try the delicacies of the Marlborough region.

Over the next three days, visitors will drive southwest through the centre of the South Island, visiting Hamner Springs, Mount Somers, Mount Sunday, Geraldine and ending up in Lake Tekapo at the end of day four. Along the way, they will have the chance to cast their eyes upon New Zealand’s tallest mountain Aoraki/Mount Cook and the village that lays at its base.

End your trip with a tasting experience
at the Cloudy Bay Shed

During the final three days of the adventure, visitors will continue from Tekapo through the small towns and majestic scenery of the Mackenzie Country. On the way down, they will pass through the Maniototo region. This region was the center of the Otago gold rush of the 1860s. Peter Jackson filmed part of the grasslands in the region for his Lord of the Rings film series. After passing through Wanaka, the trip will end at the adventure mecca of Queenstown.

We are delighted to offer you an exclusive wine tasting experience at the Cloudy Bay Shed for any reservation on KIWIFRENCH. The Shed is a remarkable and welcoming location nestled between Cloudy Bay’s bronzed hills Northburn Vineyard and the splendid Lake Dunstan in Cromwell (1-hour drive from Queenstown).

Please follow this link for more information and inquiries

Author : David Williams

Baran de Bordeaux: New Zealand specialists in French Antiques and Interiors

Chrystelle Baran has always had a passion for collecting French antiques. She and her partner Nick opened Baran de Bordeaux in 2000, sourcing the best and most beautiful pieces from all over France for their showroom in Ellerslie. Their mission is to show that exquisite French antiques and interior design is timeless and can be suited to any New Zealand interior, contemporary or otherwise.

Classic French antiques that can fit into any New Zealand interior

Chrystelle sometimes worries that New Zealanders have preconceived notions about antiques that they are old fluffy and dusty pieces that one would find in the home of their grandmother.

But she and Nick are determined to puncture that myth. “We show them that good French pieces will do quite the opposite. The enduring international appeal of genuine French antiques is their lightness and decorative quality that is perfectly at home in any New Zealand interior, contemporary or otherwise.”

They travel to France two or three times a year to source new stock from every corner of France. Much like fashion, design trends often change quickly. So, for them both, it is important to see what is happening.

Sourcing and interior design

In addition to their French antiques, Baran de Bordeaux offer a wide range of services like sourcing and interior design.


Should you be looking for a specific item, Chrystelle and Nick will be happy to personally source that special piece for you. Once located, they can send you photographs directly from France, prior to purchasing.

Interior design

Complimenting their deep knowledge of French furnishings and decoration flair, Chrystelle and Nick can take on a strictly limited number of design projects a year. Contact us to discuss your specific requirements.

New Zealand stockist for the stunning hand-painted de Gournay wallpaper

Baran De Bordeaux possesses elegant French pieces for every part of your interior and exterior. From furniture to decoration to lighting (even chandeliers), only the most elegant pieces are selected by Chrystelle.

Baran de Bordeaux are New Zealand’s sole representative for de Gournay, the world’s finest hand-painted wallpapers.

They are even the sole New Zealand stockist for the stunning hand-painted de Gournay wallpaper. Whether creating a Chinoiserie room, a 19th century French Scenic, an Art Nouveau or Art Deco interior, a gold-leaf ceiling or a complete Chinese Export dinner service, de Gournay and Baran de Bordeaux can help you realise your dreams of a perfect interior.

Author : David Williams