The island of Vava’u in the Kingdom of Tonga, with its beautiful nature and unique island culture, was nearly washed away by Cyclone Waka in 2002.
It was here that New Zealander John Ross and his family fell in love with the nation of Tonga both for its natural beauty and the warmth of its people.
They started Heilala as an aid project after the cyclone, establishing a vanilla farm, continuing to provid employment opportunities to the island nation, particularly for women.
Fast forward to today Jennifer Boggiss, Heilala co-founder and CEO (and Johns daughter) has close relationships and respected connections with communities throughout Tonga.
Jennifer leads a team of 30 in New Zealand where the company is based and produce the range of award winning vanilla products.
The transparency — plus the product’s consistent quality — has made Heilala a favorite among Michelin star chefs who want to know where their ingredients come from and care about sustainable and equitable production