Graham Matheson grew up in Cook Islands in the 1990s playing rugby and rugby league. He and his fellow players regularly sustained injuries that were treated with traditional medicine that resulted in inexplicable and speedy recoveries. Graham was fascinated by this phenomenon and wanted to find out why traditional medicine could do certain things better with bone and skin healing than modern medicine.

As it happened, Graham chose medicine as his lifelong career gaining a scholarship to the prestigious University of New South Wales (UNSW) Medical School in Sydney. He graduated as a doctor, gained his Masters in Bio Medical Engineering and completed his PhD studies on the effects of traditional Cook Islands medicine

Today, Dr. Graham Matheson is a practicing doctor at the Kareena Private Hospital in Caringbah, Sydney. He is married to Lorinda, the director of a child care centre. They have two young boys, Hugh and Flynn.

He is also a partner in a luxury skin care company, Te Tika, that is operated by CIMTECH (Cook Islands Medical Technology).

The skin care industry around the world is massive. The research and development of skin care products is a highly competitive business with a pressing demand for new and better skin care solutions. Occasionally, there is a dramatic breakthrough in the science of skin care that opens up new treatments. The Te Tika Skin Care range is one of those breakthroughs.

It all began with Dr. Matheson’s question about whether traditional Cook Islands medicine could be used more formally to help heal injured bones, maybe as a pharmaceutical treatment.

“In 2003, I asked Professor Bill Walsh from the Orthopedic Centre next to the UNSW to set up a pilot study to study bone regeneration,” said Dr. Matheson.

“We also needed permission to proceed from the Cook Islands traditional leaders, the Koutu Nui.

“Natural plant remedies have been used in the Cook Islands for centuries when the islands were ruled by high chiefs (Ariki) and their council of traditional leaders (Koutu Nui).

Traditional healing and medicine practices had rapidly disappeared since colonisation in the early 1800s, and it wasn’t until 1965 when the Cook Islands became self-governing that recognition of traditional practices of the Ariki and Koutu Nui was re-established in the law of the land.

Dr. Matheson approached Te Tika Mataiapo Dorice Reid, a traditional chief from the district of Takitumu on Rarotonga.

“At the time, Dorice was the President of the Koutu Nui. They are the custodians of the land, traditional knowledge, language, cultural heritage, and the welfare of the people.”

Successful in obtaining the full support for the research into traditional medicine from the Koutu Nui, a partnership was formed that is CIMTECH today, and which includes the Koutu Nui and the University of New South Wales.

Over the first few years, the comprehensive research program had split in two: one following the bone regeneration side; the other, skin regeneration.

Everything began to point CIMTECH towards concentrating on skin regeneration.

“The results of the research revealed the presence of regenerative agents, one with remarkable effect on the biology of the top layer of the skin. The investigation demonstrated that the extracts greatly improved the skin layer without irritant or inflammatory changes,” said Dr. Matheson.

As it turned out Dorice Reid was instrumental in the progressive development of the Te Tika Skin Care range.

In 2006, three years into the research, Dorice influenced the decision making process when, according to Dr. Matheson, she stated emphatically: “If this does what you say it does, every woman is going to want to put it on her face.”

The bone regeneration research was still a way off being finalised and research funding was limited, so when the current results were presented to the partners and the conclusive evidence was shown, a decision was made to rapidly pursue the skin regeneration product into a skin care range.

Te Tika was the name finally chosen for the range. It was not directly named after Dorice’ Koutu Nui title. Te Tika was in fact one of several Cook Islands names widely tested by an independent marketing company.

Today, regenerative plants are grown naturally and refined by CIMTECH in the Cook Islands using special techniques to bring out the activity from the plants. These Bioactive Cook Islands Oils are the ‘secret’ behind the effectiveness and success of the Te Tika Skin Care range.

The Te Tika Skin Care range was launched on Rarotonga's Muri Beach on 12th August, 2012. Since then the range has been made available in selected outlets in the Cook Islands, New Zealand and Australia. The range can also be purchased through the Te Tika website,

Dr. Matheson said that in a recent research sample over a four-week period with individuals from the ages of 18 through to 80, 100% of respondents noticed a difference in their skin. Over 90% reported their skin being smoother and softer with more even tones, and 80% reported a much brighter complexion. 65% noted a reduction in their wrinkles.

“But more importantly, all the people that used Te Tika reported other people had noticed that their skin had visibly improved”.

“In the next three to five years, we plan to expand into the North American and European markets. Te Tika contains an active ingredient that is not currently available in products in those markets,” said Dr. Matheson

For more information about Te Tika, visit

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