Heilala Vanilla on Country Calendar
Published on November 9, 2011
In 2001, John, a former dairy farmer, was on a boating holiday in Vava'u islands in Tonga's north. He made friends with a local family and, when a cyclone later hit the islands, sent them money to help restore the roof of their home. To show their gratitude, the Latu family offered John the lease on some land. When he opted to grow vanilla on it, he also promised to provide work for the family. The arrangement has blossomed into a successful business called Heilala Vanilla.