- We wanted to create wealth, pride and self-determination at the grower level
- We believe in sustainable living and we are passionate about making a positive difference
- We are ambitious and determined to be successful
- We enjoy producing quality innovative ideas and
- We love making connections!!!!
Ola Pacifica was founded by Nia and Phil Belcher after a phone call from Nia’s dad in Samoa in 2010 to find a market for the cacao farmers in her mum's village Sataua at Itu Asau, Savaii.
This call was the start of an incredible journey for Nia and Phil, starting with a trial of cacao products with the support of Chantal Organics Wholesale in Napier. The supply base was originally Nia’s family in Samoa working with relatives and village growers regarding requirements for care, processing and shipping; this has grown far beyond extended family and Ola Pacifica to now with over 200 farmers in different village communities both in Upolu and Savaii.
The plantations are largely permaculture in nature as handed down by oral traditions and cultural practices. For centuries, Samoa's customary beliefs, traditions and values form the core of living with nature. These have guided how the land, the sea and the space within, have been protected and utilised. The cacao plants grown amongst the wide variety of tropical trees and rich soils provide a distinct and unique Pacific flavour. Ola Pacifica brings together numerous members of the family and village communities both in Samoa and New Zealand.
On their kitchen bench at home in Havelock North, Nia & Phil started back in 2010 with cacao beans and nibs, to making quality pure cacaoccino (authentic drinking chocolate) and dark chocolates. Now in 2020 to launching a range of decadent, high quality smooth chocolate with no milk and no additives, this is the result of hard work and perseverance. This is the journey borne from a passion for the Pacific community, a passion for sustainable living and a passion to make a difference.
Nia was born and raised in Samoa before she came to University in New Zealand in 1994. Growing up in Samoa with numerous brothers, cousins, aunties, uncles and relatives. Life was both adventurous and educational from an early age.
Nia met Phil when at university in New Zealand. They married at the end of university and returned to live and work in Samoa early 1998. Nia worked in the then government department for Lands and Environment while Phil worked a variety of jobs in the private sector including Tinai, Gordon Engineers & Associates, Ole Siosiomaga Society and also Women in Business.
Moving back to New Zealand in 2001, Phil and Nia settled in Hawke’s Bay and raise their four sons. Nia worked as an Environmental Policy Planner with the Hastings District Council till she resigned in 2015 to progress the cocoa & chocolate business. Phil works as a carver, a secondary school teacher and presently as a Cultural Advisor to Napier Kindergarten teachers. While life in Aotearoa is busy and has its challenges, the commitment to Ola Pacifica is driven by Nia and Phil’s life experiences both in Samoa and New Zealand, the urge to help their community back in Samoa, as well as actively contributing to promoting a sustainable way of life.