A Tribute to Tineke Verkade

At the recent AGM the NZCH took great delight in announcing Tineke Verkade as the inaugural Honorary Award winner for 2022. This award acknowledges a member’s passion, dedication and outstanding contribution to the New Zealand homeopathic profession. Tributes were given to Tineke and her work by Sue Fitzgibbon and Susanna Shelton and an excerpt from both are below.

Sue Fitgibbon:

The work of Tineke Verkade and her extraordinary devotion to Homeopathy saw her focus on clinical work, education of students and homeopaths as well as raising awareness of homeopathy amongst the general public.

Tineke originally trained as a Registered Nurse, with qualifications in Nursing and Tutoring in Holland. On arriving in New Zealand she worked at the Waikato Hospital but her main interest was always in complementary therapies. While working, she studied at the South Pacific College of Natural Therapies and gained a Diploma in Naturopathy and Medical Herbalism. Concurrently, Tineke studied at the Bay of Plenty College of Homeopathy in Tauranga, gaining her Diploma in Classical Homeopathy and then went on to complete an Advanced Diploma in Homeopathy. She also holds a Bachelor of Science Degree, Complementary Medicine from Charles Sturt University. She managed all this while holding down a full time nursing job at Waikato Hospital and raising a family.

Tineke is a woman ahead of her time. She has always been passionate about organic farming and developed first-hand knowledge on her ten acre block. This genuine concern for the overall health of the land and animals became a driving force that lead her to develop her practice called Homeopathic Farm Support (HFS). When she started, her first enquiry was about milk fever in a dairy herd. A remedy and a good result meant enquiries from other farmers who were eager to give it a try started flooding in. Soon the word was spread through farming communities.

Due to requests from farmers, Tineke not only supplied remedies but developed educational programmes providing information, guidelines and support on the safe and effective use of Homeopathy. She developed a one-day homeopathic seminar for farmers and attended Field Days around the country to capture the interest of farmers nationwide.

She has written numerous books on animal homeopathy, including Homeopathic handbook for dairy farming, Homeopathy for horses, Alpaca, a homeopathic and natural approach and Homeopathy at home, for the lay-person, as she found once farmers could see it working on their animals, they would then try it on their families and themselves.

Tineke also taught at the Bay of Plenty College of Homeopathy and took a straight forward approach to teaching upcoming animal homeopaths. ‘Keep it simple’ was her mantra. She also offered clinical training that included visits to organic farms, horse studs, goat farms, dairy farms and veterinary practices. Students loved her enthusiasm, down to earth practicality and sense of humour.

For those of us who were privileged to work alongside Tineke or be taught by her, she was an inspiration and in these times she can show all of us the way forward.

Susanna Shelton:

Tineke’s life of service began in her native Holland. I believe her greatest inspirations from her early days were: “The Land”, “The Animals” and “The Nuns.”

All three grabbed her attention in her childhood and formative years. She spoke highly of the Nuns who taught her nursing and modelled the concept of vocational calling, professionalism, dedication and compassion.

Nursing became the cornerstone of her healing career and provided a pathway into practice in New Zealand when the family migrated in the late 70s. Tineke was one of those nurses who brought a calmness to a shift when they reported for duty. You could measure that in the relaxed shoulders of the co-workers when they saw her arrive or heard her distinctive Dutch accent in the hallway. That accent and forthrightnesses– these were part of her signature that made her mostly recognised by her first name.

Through her diplomas and degrees, Tineke, extended her nursing skills into the world of natural health with homeopathy, herbalism and naturopathy.

In 1998, Tineke relentlessly advocated for the Bay of Plenty College to offer a specialised programme in animal homeopathy. Her insistence led to the Diploma of Homeopathy in Animal Health being accredited and she helped design, implement and nurture that unique programme which continues to be delivered.

I was privileged to be part of the original discussions that led her to establish Homeopathic Farm Support and served as a consultant to her and HFS for nearly 20 years.

I’ll never forget HFS’s first foray into the retail area at the National Agricultural Filed Days at Mystery Creek in 1997. I stood with her in the freezing cold in an outside gazebo with ankle deep mud and people literally laughing in our faces as they passed by. That was bad enough, but intensified by challenges from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, creating lots of stress for Tineke and HFS. But to her credit, she replied by documenting her quality assurance measures and processes. She invested strongly in Good Manufacturing Practices which yielded recognition of HFS as an accredited producer of organic certified products approved for use in the primary food production sector.

Tineke’s persistence, tenacity, willingness to invest in quality assurances and her likability helped build her acceptance by both conventional and non-conventional farmers. Her work ethic and commitment to consumer support and education contributed to the success of the business and enthusiastic customers. More recently, the HFS stall at the National Field Days at Mystery Creek has ‘come in from the cold’ and has pride of place in the main pavilion and became a hub for supporters to stop and gather. The HFS stall became a “must stop” at Field Days— a place to chat, ask questions, grab a cuppa and some homemade biscuits.

Today, a great supporter of Tineke’s, Tracy Simpson, now owns HFS and continues its great legacy of service to the agricultural community.

Thousands of people, pets and production animals have benefitted from Tineke’s care as a registered nurse, naturopath, herbalist and homeopath. Tineke still prescribes the odd remedy as many of her oldest clients refuse to let her retire. She continues to live in the Waikato— a place she loved from the moment she arrived from Holland.

Tineke’s legacy continues with the continuity of HFS as a business and from the lasting benefits from her generous friendships, her advice, her teaching and prescribing.


Source: New Zealand Council of Homeopaths (NZCH)