Ola Pacifica was founded by Nia and Phil Belcher in 2011 after a phone call from Nia’s dad in Samoa to find a market for the cacao farmers in her mum's village in 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 extended far beyond extended family and Ola Pacifica now works 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. 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.
Ola Pacifica progressed from cacao beans and nibs, to making quality pure and dark chocolate and now in 2020 to launching a range of decadent, high quality flavoured chocolate. This is a journey borne from a passion for the Pacific community, a passion for sustainable living and a passion to make a difference.
Nia + Phil Belcher
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 to raise their four sons. Nia worked as an Environmental Policy Planner with the Hastings District Council and Phil as a carver and a secondary school teacher. 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.