Heilala Vanilla

Sector: Agri-tech

Invested: November 2011


Jennifer Boggiss

John Ross



Heilala Vanilla was established by John Ross and his family as an aid project in 2002. After a cyclone ravaged the Kingdom of Tonga, a partnership was formed with a family in the village of Utungake to establish a vanilla plantation which would provide employment and sustainable livelihoods for the local community.

Grown in virgin soil on coconut-husk frames, Heilala Vanilla orchids are hand-cultivated, hand-pollinated and sustainably harvested followed by a traditional curing and drying process carried out under the tropical sun. The annual crop is manufactured into a range of vanilla products from the companies base in Te Puna, Tauranga, NZ. Heilala Vanilla products include extract, syrup, sugar, paste, skin care, home products, sanitiser and more!

As demand for Heilala Vanilla has grown - thanks to its consistent quality, uniquely profound flavour, ethical sourcing and organic growing practices - grower partnerships have extended throughout Tonga along with investment into plantings of vanilla in partnership with His Majesty which will extend the supply chain along with providing employment.



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