Fascination with the hardy Totara tree goes back hundreds of years when the early Maori settlers searched out a robust material for building their Whares (houses) and Waka’s (boats). But it wasn’t until 1994 when a team of kiwi scientists discovered the secret substance that protects the Totara tree for thousands of years. Deep in the heartwood they found Totarol™.

Seeing the immense potential of this incredibly potent organic ingredient, environmental conservationist Doug Mende developed a novel, patented, supercritical extraction process to produce Totarol in its purest form, and in March 1999 Mende Biotech Ltd was born.

Innovation is at the very core of the business. In recent years Mende Biotech has developed delivery systems and synergistic compounds to work with Totarol™. This has allowed the company to produce antibiotic replacements in animal and human health products; in some cases many times more potent than penicillin.


Meet the ambitious threesome taking Bioactive Totarol™ to the world.


Founder and
​managing director

Doug has set up numerous land management projects over the years, including plantations dealing with research and development programs, helping promote better land and forest management and planting of our native plants.

Doug now lives in and breathes everything Totarol™ and is at the forefront of bioactive technology in this field. Working closely with scientists from a variety of research labs and universities, Doug leads the science behind all the Totarol™ formulations.

He believes in a world where natural ingredients will one day replace all chemical nasties – and he’s making it happen, one recycled Totara tree at a time.



Reinhard, a German native came to Aotearoa in 1971 to live the Kiwi dream, and he found it. Successful in a number of different industries including hospitality and tourism, Reinhard partnered with Doug in 2001 to take Bioactive Totarol™ to the next stage.

Reinhard was instrumental in obtaining the necessary registrations required to sell Totarol™ in the European Union. He was also pivotal in securing the first of many clients - L’Oreal, which was a hugely significant win for the company so early on, and reinforced the potential for commercialisation this wonder ingredient was destined for.

As well as a partner of Mende Biotech, Reinhard runs Essentially New Zealand Limited - the international marketing arm of Mende Biotech. He currently oversees the distribution of Totarol™ as a raw ingredient worldwide.



Dave has been a passionate diary farmer for 33 years.

He spent the last 5 years of those developing a state of the art, grass based, intensive robotic dairy farm, which was one of the first in the North Island.  Because of its innovations, the farm was also used to the show case robotic farming for those interested in this new technology.

Dave has always had an interest in natural and organic product development in the human and health industry. However being a dairy farmer, he was particularly drawn to Totarol™ for its potential animal health benefits. Especially since Totarol™ is a 100% organic ingredient that unlike traditional synthetic antibiotics will have little or no bacterial resistance build up.  Which creates substantial benefits to the future of both human and animal health.

Joining as a partner of Mende Biotech in 2017, Dave has a pragmatic view on this business and can see where we want to go and how best to get there.