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Heilala Vanilla Concern For Tongan Colleagues

Heilala Vanilla’s CEO Jennifer Boggiss has spoken of the premium vanilla company’s deep concern for their family, friends, and colleagues in Tonga.

“Heilala Vanilla's New Zealand based team were devastated to learn of the enormous volcanic eruption and follow-on tsunami that occurred in the Kingdom of Tonga on 15th January 2022,” Boggiss said.

“The uncertainty is very tough,” Boggiss said. “Our vanilla plantations are above sea level, but we are deeply concerned for the wellbeing of our family, friends and colleagues on the islands of Vava’u and ‘Eua, and all across the Kingdom.”

All communications with the Kingdom of Tonga have been down since Saturday’s event. There has now been a confirmed death and reports of missing people, along with damage to vital infrastructure, homes, businesses, churches and schools. Wide destruction on the Ha’apai Islands has been confirmed and toxic volcanic ash has blanketed the capital of Nukualofa, contaminating water and posing a major threat to health.

“There is a lot we don’t know. What we do know is that the people of Tonga will need our help – today, tomorrow and in the foreseeable future. To get things started, Heilala Vanilla Ltd has donated NZD$25,000 to the Heilala Vanilla Foundation to assist with critical needs, which will include food and water security, and other supplies.”

Heilala’s roots are in disaster response, and the company have been working closely with their Tongan community since Cyclone Waka 20 years ago, in 2002. In the coming days, Heilala Vanilla will be liaising with various agencies and partners on the ground in Tonga to provide assistance where most needed.

“As we receive the latest information we will formulate and implement a response plan which will draw on the support of the Heilala Vanilla community across the world.”

Heilala Vanilla has set up a donation page to assist with the relief efforts. Every cent of the funds donated goes directly to response efforts. The company will cover all administrative and associated costs required for the foundation to carry out its work.

People wishing to support the Heilala Vanilla Foundation in helping the victims of the natural disaster can donate via

About Heilala Vanilla

The partnership between Heilala Vanilla and the people of Vava’u started as an aid project helping to rebuild after a cyclone in 2002. This initial act of kindness by Heilala Vanilla founder John Ross, led to the founding of Heilala Vanilla.

Heilala Vanilla has a range of vanilla products, including vanilla beans, vanilla extract, vanilla paste, vanilla sugar, vanilla syrup and ground vanilla powder. The award-winning products are loved by home bakers, chefs and gourmet food manufacturers around the world.

Heilala Vanilla launched the Heilala Vanilla Foundation in 2013 as a registered Charity (Charities Commission #CC49185) to build on its already strong ties in Tonga. The foundation demonstrates that Heilala Vanilla’s commitment to the people of Tonga extends beyond the vanilla plantation. The Heilala Annual Impact Report can be viewed on the website HERE.

Heilala was established on the principles of fair trade and to support livelihoods - the people of Tonga are an integral part of Heilala’s business.

© Scoop Media

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