Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Pacific Cacao & chocolate showcased for the global market

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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John Pulu | Presenter/ Reporter/Director

A regional Cacao and Chocolate show for growers and producers was held in Auckland last month.

It was a celebration of cacao and chocolate history in cultivation, value, innovation and its potential in the world’s artisan food markets.

From beans-to-bars, cacao or koko is served in many forms; in chocolate, in tea and even with kava.

Audrey Moala from Daniels Daughters is proud to showcase her original product that combines cacao and kava, two traditional plant medicines deeply rooted in our Pacific culture, customs and ceremony.

“It is called ca-kava made from kava in Vava’u, Tonga and beans from Samoa,” Moala says.

Ca-kava is made out of cacao beans from Samoa and kava sourced from Vava’u Tonga. One of the many products on show. Photo: Supplied

This is one of the many products on show at the first Pacific cacao and chocolate show dedicated to the evolution of cacao in the region.

The creator and producer of the Pacific Cacao & Chocolate show, Floris Niu says the celebration was a long-time in the planning.

“It’s a commodity but it’s also, we are needing to push that into a premium area as well so we want to gain recognition for the quality that we do grow in the Pacific,” Niu says.

A chocolate lover’s heaven, there are organically grown cacao beans from Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea on offer.

Organic farmer Siliaga Tatupu brought her own koko from Samoa.   

“Samoan koko is like gold overseas, people love it and want it so yeah koko is quite in demand and now with this show we are hoping to show the chocolate makers that the Pasifika have good beans,” Tatupu says.  

For years beans have been sourced from different parts of the world but Ati Olive from Koko Beans says it’s time for the Pacific to shine.

“This event will help grow the economy for those who are growing beans in the islands and we all know that the islands have some pretty good soil and the land and so I think it’s going to be a bright future for the pacific,” Olive says.

Tupa’i Saleimoa Va’ai pictured with his family at the cacao and chocolate expo. Photo: Supplied

Koko beans were introduced to Samoa more than a hundred years ago. Tupa’i Saleimoa Va’ai is a fourth generation koko grower who has partnered up with New Zealand chocolate makers Whittaker’s.

We have beautiful beans to offer, we just need more like-minded people, companies like Whittaker’s who are willing to come out and partner with us and all the other chocolatiers who are around here and that way we can keep generating income for our farmers,” Va’ai says.

Savai’i Koko is currently supplying markets in Australia and Japan while empowering around 400 koko farmers back in the islands.

Samoan Phoebe Preuss is continuing a family tradition in her business, Living Koko, which offers vegan, allergy safe and gluten free chocolate and even a skin care range.

“I think it’s such a blessing to be in a space where we can see the transparency of the food system and it’s very rare that we can see from and actually talanoa and talk from the farmer, the person that is willing this plant to come out of the ground, and their challenges within their space to us who are making the chocolate,” Preuss says.

Refining a process that is adding Pasifika flavours to a flourishing cacao and chocolate sector.

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