Travel Date:
Return Date:

Chathams Pacific, Tonga'a Domestic Airline offering flights to untouched worlds

Heilala Vanilla 

Heilala Vanilla, the vanilla that is grown in Vavau and then marketed to the world from New Zealand, a true partnership between the Kingdom of Tonga and New Zealand.

Heilala Vanilla was started in 2002 by the Bogiss and Ross families-John Ross, his daughter Jennifer and her husband Garth and is the story of a Tongan aid project that has developed into a successful business. Today the Heilala products are winning many awards and executive chefs and foodies can not get enough of them!

Prior to 2002 John was a retired dairy farmer, Jennifer was an accountant and Garth worked in IT. They worked a dormant piece of land in Utungake, Tonga gifted to them by the local village. John and Garth put to practice their horticultural know how to kick start the plantation by researching countries around the world that grew vanilla in the narrow band 20 degrees on each side of the equator. The plan was to help provide the locals with employment and hope that the demand for vanilla blossomed.

It then took three years to develop and nurture the vines through the on-going art of careful training, weeding and looping, all while ensuring organic sustainable farming was being practised. In 2005 the first 40kg harvests of Vanilla pods were ready. Time passed and the plantation went from strength to strength harvesting a healthy two tonnes in 2010. All the tender love and care has resulted in the richest grade of Vanilla in the Asia Pacific region with its distinctive aroma, shine and plumpness coveted by chefs all around the world.

An annual crop is brought back from Tonga to the company’s base in Tauranga, New Zealand. Heilala Vanilla is then packaged for each order; the Pure Extract and Vanilla Paste, Syrup and vanilla bean sugar are manufactured, and dispatched to Executive Chefs, gourmet food manufacturers and a selection of specialty retail outlets.

Several years have passed and the plantation has matured, but the research and development of more exciting 100% pure vanilla ideas continue. The practice of true sustainability with the local village also continues and has enabled resources for education and infrastructure, which the community otherwise may not have had. Heilala Vanilla's extensive range of products make an excellent gift to take home from the Kingdom of Tonga.

For more information on Heilala Vanilla products check out their website at

Did you know... Heilala Vanilla is the only vanilla brand in the world that is grown and marketed by the same people, direct from plantation to pantry!

Did you know... the vanilla plant is a member of the orchid family!


Kingdom Airpass help you see more of Tonga.  Hibicus are in abundance
With every island group offering unique experiences Chathams Pacific's Kingdom Passes will help you see more of Tonga for less.


Happy pigs forraging in 'Eua, Kingdom Of Tonga
Gotta go !  Only 8 minutes by air from Tongatapu to an untouched and unique world. Eco-tourism leaders


Vanilla that is grown in Vavau and then marketed to the world from New Zealand, a true partnership between the Kingdom of Tonga and New Zealand!


'Ene'io Botanic Gardens, Vava'u

Vava'u is home to 'Ene'io Botanic Gardens with a beach front cafe, garden tours, demonstrations and much, much more.  Highly recommended!

Twitter Facebook Air Chathams New Zealand