Lighting up Other Lives

Toby and Margit in Palm BeachA career as a concert pianist was put on the backburner when Toby Ruckert and his partner Margit Brusda chose to light up peoples lives. Moving to Waiheke in 2003 they brought with them ‘Viva-Lite’. Their light bulb producing company that specialises in full-spectrum lighting to assist businesses whose employees suffer from headaches, eyestrain and stress.

“People can get very low emotionally in the middle of winter due to the lack of natural light,” says Toby. “People feel entirely different working under these lights as they reduce tiredness and mood swings especially if it relates to the winter blues. But the lights also improve energy levels.”

Toby and Margit say that small businesses can reduce the number of sick days by changing their lighting. “For people who get headaches in the office, this improves them. Normal fluoro tubes only have three colours and we try to bring in as much of the suns natural spectrum as possible.”

While 80 percent of their turnover is from overseas, Toby and Margit say that New Zealand is just starting to understand the difference lighting can make. “In the US and northern Europe this technology has been known for quite a long time and it’s starting to catch on here now. Everything really has started to happen this year.”

Recently Viva-Lite has been announced as a finalist in the Vero Excellence in Business Support Awards. “We are really surprised at being a finalist. We’ve been doing it for ten years so it doesn’t feel like overnight success but we’ve done all the ground work and are very prepared for the New Zealand market.”

Their lives on Waiheke appear pretty laid back while online it’s another story. Margit’s Wellness Shop is very busy and sell’s an eclectic mix of things from tongue-scrapers to sting healers. “I play the piano at Whitakers. I could have been a concert pianist but I like to be able to make it a little more pleasant for people to work. To help others in this small way makes it very enjoyable for me,” said Toby. For information go to

(c) and published by Waiheke Gulf News in January 2009. Photo (c) by Minka Firth.

Related posts:

  1. Solving the Business Winter Blues
  2. Finalists win from being excellent
  3. PM to present Vero Excellence in Business Support Awards
  4. Full-spectrum lighting (issue 6)
  5. Full-spectrum lighting (issue 9)

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