An Interview with Gabby, Co-Founder of Activist

What was the moment you knew you had to create ACTIVIST?

"I was living and working in New York City as an Art Director at Vogue magazine. Shortly after my 30th birthday, I became very sick literally overnight. I had many scary neurological symptoms and was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease. The disease I experienced was from more than just the tick bite which causes Lyme disease; my body and mind were so toxic from living a life completely out of balance, that my glass just overflowed. I was constantly overstimulated and depleted. My mind loved the idea of a big city, but my physical body did not.

After a month spent in Switzerland at a Biological Medicine Clinic, I returned to New Zealand, where my husband Luke and I spent a year living quietly on our piece of land in the Coromandel. Some beekeeping friends asked if they could place some hives on our land and we happily agreed. It was a transformative year. As my health began to improve, I became deeply interested in natural foods, preparing all our food from scratch, including nut milks, bread, granola, green juices, chocolates, and fermented foods such as sauerkraut. I really believe in the human body’s innate capacity to heal itself if provided with the right tools — one of these being nourishing foods from the earth and Raw Mānuka Honey. Luke and I felt a pull towards creating a business that reflected our interest in the natural world and Luke’s life-long passion for surfing. We began noticing the activity of the local bees as we walked through the thick native bush to get to the ocean. We became so aware of the bees’ activity, that we learned to tell the time by their movements and began to understand their key role as environmental indicators. That was a magical moment for us. We felt the need to build a business that was in tune with our lifestyle and passions. We felt like we had kind of lost that, and that year in the Coromandel brought that back."

What was the process of creating ACTIVIST like?

"At the time, we talked about creating a honey brand as ‘a romantic idea,’ but we didn’t take the possibility seriously until we returned to the United States and started to look at the way Mānuka Honey was presented on the world stage. A lot of the time, there’s this amazing resource made by bees and the beekeepers are doing a passionate and labour-intensive job, but it ends up being sold offshore and being diluted by mass distributors who dump it into chain stores and label it with whatever numbers they want (Mānuka Honey is graded and scientifically tested for its potency). We saw an opportunity to do something really beautiful — to work with the beekeepers to tell a transparent story while elevating Mānuka. And so, ACTIVIST Mānuka was born."

What are you the most proud of in regards to ACTIVIST?

"We launched ACTIVIST when our son Cisco was two-years-old. ACTIVIST is a family business and an extension of our lifestyle. It was not a smooth ride by any means; but a very passionate one full of perseverance and passion. We now also have a daughter, Tallulah, so ACTIVIST is our third baby. Running a business and being a mother is really difficult, but something I would never change. I am so very grateful every day that I get to do what I do and also work for myself. It’s an immense blessing.


One thing I am most proud of is the immensely beneficial results that ACTIVIST has on so many of our customer’s lives. I receive messages everyday from customers (many who I now have personal relationships with), expressing their gratitude for our products and the efficacy they have for whatever ailment they are treating. One customer suffers from horrible stomach ulcers and was on antibiotics for months which only made him worse. Our Mānuka Honey 1000+MGO has cured his stomach ulcers and he can’t be without it now. Many women express how our Mānuka Honey Mask 850+MGO has completely healed their skin from hormonal breakouts, acne and eczema. A customer this week has been using our Raw Mānuka Oil on a fungal infection and it has completely cleared up after weeks of using strong prescription fungicides that did not work. Other parents write to me so thankful that our Raw Mānuka Honey and Mānuka Immune Elixir have kept their children strong and healthy while returning to school."

    What do you hope for the future of ACTIVIST?

      "Luke and I only create products out of an essential need and reason for us, our family, friends and customers. 

      At ACTIVIST, our products are wildcrafted in Aotearoa, New Zealand from Raw Mānuka Honey, to vibrate beauty inside out. Utilizing the high levels of enzymes and antibacterial properties found in Mānuka Honey, our topical and ingestible products focus on cellular beauty and wellbeing while providing incredible immune support. These beautiful rare resources from our homeland is what luxury means to us and we hope to continue providing essential, effective offerings that make a real difference in people’s health and well-being for years to come." 

        How does Mānuka Honey benefit beauty on a cellular level?

          "I believe in the concept of cellular beauty. This refers to ingesting internal health products rather than just focusing on external skincare. Skincare is no longer just topical, but it is what we put into our bodies. Mānuka is the true cellular beautician and one of nature’s multifunctional healing treasures. If cellular beauty refers to internal health reflecting externally, then Mānuka does just this. Mānuka is highly anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and can be absorbed on top of the skin or swallowed for its health benefits. It is amazing for digestive, immune and oral health, burns and wounds, and almost any skin condition. It is completely adaptable for internal and external health. This ingestible beauty technique can help increase collagen protection, fight free radicals, and support our skin from the cellular level and out.

          Mānuka is especially wonderful for supporting the natural digestive microbiome, preventing, and healing inflammation. It uses its antibacterial properties to rid the gut of pathogens, allowing for the liver and lymphatic system to shine through your skin. This is because it contains oligosaccharides, which have a prebiotic effect on the gut and promote the proliferation of good flora. In addition, the Methylglyoxal found in Mānuka Honey has been shown to increase and protect the production of collagen in the skin, promoting structural growth and regrowth. Mānuka’s amino acids harmonize the pH balance of our skin, helping us age well. It is also extremely hydrating for the skin, helping to retain moisture, which is an important part of preventing fine lines. Mānuka can be taken internally or externally for this reason."

            Finally, what is your favorite mode of self-care and why?

              "My favorite mode of self-care is swimming in the salty Pacific Ocean, hiking in the thick native New Zealand bush, yoga and cooking nutritious meals for my friends and family. I would like to do a lot more of all these things, as well as surf again with my husband. They nourish my soul and being! I use ACTIVIST religiously every day. I start with a teaspoon of Raw Mānuka Honey 850+MGO first thing in the morning with my warm lemon water for immunity and end each day with a Mānuka Honey Mask. It is an essential ritual of mine."