One of our informal sessions on campus (University of Auckland)

One of our informal sessions on campus (University of Auckland)

The history of our Society goes back to 2011 when one of our founding members fell in love with kava while doing research on the islands of the South Pacific.  After several months of experimenting with locally available varieties and preparation methods he introduced the plant to a couple of his friends and colleagues at the University of Auckland as an attractive alternative to alcohol and a pleasant after-work beverage.

A quick after-work session at the Auckland University of Technology

A quick after-work session at the Auckland University of Technology

With time, our kava sessions started attracting more and more people and the informal University of Auckland Kava Appreciation Society was created with the aims of sampling new kava varieties, discovering some of the world's finest kavas and learning about the plant itself and the fascinating kava culture. For the sake of simplicity, after some discussion the Society has decided to change its name to The Kava Society. In October 2014 we decided to create the first version of this website to promote sound knowledge about kava and some of the best kavas from around the Pacific.

In late 2011 we started meeting once or twice a week to drink our favourite kavas, try new cultivars or products, engage in spirited discussions about anything from politics to movies to sports, eat light snacks and generally have a good time.  

A kava sampling session (University of Auckland, 2017).

A kava sampling session (University of Auckland, 2017).

After sampling hundreds of different kavas both in New Zealand and around the Pacific, we have acquired a good knowledge about various cultivars and kava producers. We have also become much more aware of the issues of kava quality, purity, nobility and problems with some of the kava vendors (you can read more about these matters in our About Kava section). As none of the existing NZ kava suppliers could meet our requirements for kava's quality, purity and consistency, as well as diversity of kava types and forms, by 2013 we decided to travel to the islands, build connections with trustworthy and highly skilled farmers and source all of our kavas directly from their places of origin.   We also began to regularly lab test and analyse our kava to ensure that we only consume the finest, pure and noble roots with the most desirable effects.

Initially, we only wanted to import kava for our own use. However, as an increasing number of both new and experienced kava drinkers had tried or heard of our kava we began to receive numerous requests from people looking for high-quality noble kava. In response to the growing demand and great feedback, in early 2014 we decided to add a small online shop to our Society's website.  We determined that making pure, high quality and noble kavas available for easy purchase was certainly the best way of promoting the plant and its culture of consumption. The growing numbers of happy customers that keep purchasing the kavas we offer and the increasing appreciation for the benefits of kava in New Zealand tell us that we made the right decision. 

A kava conference at the Waikato University co-organised by members of our society

A kava conference at the Waikato University co-organised by members of our society

In the meantime, the format of our meetings and some of our goals shifted. As many of our founding members graduated from the University of Auckland or moved to work at other academic institutions, our meetings on campus have become less frequent. Instead, we have been organising informal kava sessions across Auckland and the Upper North Island. Our smaller group of core members has also been dedicating more attention to kava research and advocacy (as opposed to just kava drinking ;). 

In addition to organising various social events, we have been working to provide accurate information about kava and its uses, support kava-related research projects and to promote responsible kava consumption in New Zealand. Over the last years we have organised and co-organised a number of workshops and seminars on kava, as well as contributed to kava publications and responded to numerous media and scholarly enquiries related to kava science, economics and industry. 

In 2017 we decided to launch a new project, the Pop-Up Kava Bar with the aim of bringing kava to new places. 

We hope our website will help you to learn about kava and find answers to some of the frequently asked questions . If you have any question or would like to try some kava with us, please feel free to contact us.