Alternatives to mining: A chocolate revolution on Bougainville

A small New Zealand business is demonstrating how Bougainville can have a future without a return to large-scale mining and the reimposition of colonial-style dependence on foreign powers like Rio Tinto…

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage

A voyage to make a unique artisan chocolate bar and a better tasting world. This is the new chocolate revolution.

Can you imagine the most beautiful tropical paradise on earth?

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And the most mouthwatering, delicious chocolate you’ve ever tasted?

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We’re going to bring them together and help make a better tasting world. 

We are Gabe Davidson & Rochelle Harrison, co-founders of New Zealand’s Wellington Chocolate Factory, and international development worker Sera Price.

We are Kiwis with mad passions and big hearts. 

We’re going to make a delectable artisan chocolate bar with rare cocoa beans from Bougainville, a South Pacific region devastated by civil war. The bar itself will be a unique taste experience of the highest quality: the voyage of making it will connect us and you with a cocoa-farming legend, a better way of doing business, and a sailboat journey across the mighty Pacific. Plus you can get chocolate!

We see this as part of a new chocolate revolution, and we want you with us on the adventure.

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The Wellington Chocolate Voyage will: 

1. Upgrade a South Pacific cocoa plantation – a farming community in Bougainville, led by legendary grower James Rutana, will be able to improve their drying sheds and grow a high-quality crop of unique Criollo varietal cocoa.

2. Buy a tonne of beans – literally. The Wellington Chocolate Factory will purchase 1 tonne of the resulting bean crop at a fair, premium price.

3. Sail the sparkling seas – in the tradition of legendary ocean voyages and historical trade routes, we will transport the beans from Bougainville to Wellington harbour ourselves via sailing ship!

4. Make amazing chocolate – once the beans arrive, we will use our master chocolate-making skills to produce the ‘Bougainville Bar’, a highest quality artisan treat with a unique flavour.

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The Wellington Chocolate Voyage combines everything we’re passionate about: making great food, supporting ethical development and trade, connecting with people across the globe, and going on an adventure. We see this as part of the new revolution in artisan food, where mega-industrialised production takes a back seat to skill, care, and people.

By backing us you will be part of:

Supporting Bougainville and a local legend – recovering from a 10 year civil war, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea is trying to develop its own economy and future. James Rutana helped build Bougainville’s cocoa industry only to see it get destroyed by war and neglect. He is committed to rebuilding and we want to help him.

Making truly great food – the Wellington Chocolate Factory are a values driven company who make highest quality bean-to-bar chocolate. You’ll be invited into our world and get to share the inside story of creating the Bougainville Bar. Then you’ll get your very own bar to try or share or hoard!

Nurturing unique cocoa varieties –  rare and unique cocoa varieties are being lost to the dominance of lower value industrial strains. We’re encouraging farmers to grow higher quality crops and earn a premium price for their effort.

Doing it by sailboat! – Sailboats are fun and romantic in all the right ways, and there is a proud tradition of great Pacific sea voyages throughout history. Imagine being in Wellington Harbour as the first sail-driven shipment of cocoa beans in over fifty years arrives. If you’re super-keen, imagine coming on the boat with us!

Wouldn’t it feel good to be part of a better tasting world?

 What’s the Wellington Chocolate Factory?

We’re snuggled in the heart of Wellington city in New Zealand. We have 11 staff and are open to the public. We make organic, ethically traded, bean-to-bar chocolate of the highest quality.

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Why Bougainville?

Bougainville is a beautiful tropical island cluster just north of Australia, with a troubled history. Geographically part of the Solomon Islands but politically part of Papua New Guinea, Bougainville is now an Autonomous Region with its own government and economy.

In 1970 Bougainville had the world’s largest open pit copper mine. The mine contributed significantly to the development of the region, but also to its collapse. A civil war followed that lasted 10 years from 1989 – 1999 and killed 20,000 people.

The Bougainville people brought about peace with assistance from the New Zealand and Australian governments, and the new Autonomous Region hasn’t looked back! There are many challenges in rebuilding the economy and raising business confidence: cocoa growing, for which Bougainville was once internationally renowned, is a way forward.

We want to help put Bougainvllle cocoa back on the map! Making the world class artisan Bougainville Bar will help shine a positive light on the region’s potential, and demonstrate that this is a great place to work and do business.

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5 Comments

Filed under Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

5 responses to “Alternatives to mining: A chocolate revolution on Bougainville

  1. Aloysius Daveona

    Finally!!! Some Logictic!!! Good going Mr.Rutana!!

  2. Linda

    Why not a chocolate factory on Bougainville to create jobs? Throughout PNG our raw produce is exported and we import back expensively. Bougainville could be supplying the domestic market with a quality product to equal cadbury. At the moment, even if you can find chocolate bars in the provinces, it’s Asian and tasteless compared to dairy milk!

  3. Kurt WEHNER

    A positive, good feel announcement, in time for Christmas, Good Luck !

  4. Hope you will recruit Bougainville people to work in Wellington and learn the chocolate trade before starting a joint venture of value adding right there on Bougainville. Now THAT would be something to be proud of.

  5. taupoloso@gmail.com

    Excellent alternative development option from mining,Bougainville people needs to buld investor confident to set up a factory at your home land and export value added end product…enjoy Christmas and Long live Bougainville

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