Episode 34 - Island Adventure
On the next episode, screening 8 October 2017 at 7pm on TVNZ 1:
A New Zealand venture in Vanuatu is bringing benefits to the local community as well as its Kiwi owners.
Jono and Claire Bushell employ over 400 workers who prune eight million vines every winter in Marlborough.
Among them are workers who come from Vanuatu through the Government’s RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employer) temporary work visa scheme.
When Jono visited remote Tanna in Vanuatu on a staff recruiting trip, he was struck by the beauty of the island, but he also saw the difficulties the locals faced.
Most people couldn’t afford to send their children to secondary school because free education in Vanuatu stops at Year 6. They could feed themselves from their land but had no way to generate cash for education, medical expenses or to build homes.
He and Claire have set up a new enterprise, Tanna Farms, to extract organically grown coconut oil, reviving plantations that fell into disuse years ago when the market for fresh coconuts collapsed. The new venture has created a steady stream of income that is flowing through the community.
The oil and a range of soaps and lip balms are exported to New Zealand and Tanna Farms expects to start exports to Australia soon.
But in 2015, just weeks after the first shipments were ready for market, Cyclone Pam hammered Vanuatu and both the factory and coconut mill were completely destroyed.
While they were still reeling amidst the devastation, Jono and his business partners Jason Kennard and Ni-Van Seth Kaurua all decided this was the time they were needed most, so they set about rebuilding their broken industry.
Two years on and Tanna Farms is back up and running and now expanding into peanuts, peanut butter and coffee, buying raw produce from villages all over isolated Tanna Island.
‘We get a lot of joy working here,’ Jono says. ‘We get a lot of satisfaction giving back to communities, seeing the differences small things can make in people’s lives.’
Jono and his three school-age children spent time living in Vanuatu while Tanna Farms was establishing and they cherish the time they spent on the islands.
Determined to expose the young children to different cultures and lifestyles, they love the island life and the perspective it has given the children now.
Claire Bushell is passionate about what they are doing in Vanuatu. ‘You can see we’re making a difference and that motivates us,’ she says. ‘It’s a win-win for both parties and I really love that part of it.’
For more about Tanna Farms, visit:http://www.tannafarms.com.vu
For more about Holiday Inn Vanuatu, visit:http://vanuatu.holidayinnresorts.com
For more about Air Vanuatu, visit:https://www.airvanuatu.com
For more about Whitegrass Resort Tanna Island, visit:http://whitegrasstanna.com
For more about the RSE Scheme, visit: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/employ-migrants/hire-a-candidate/options-for-repeat-high-volume-hiring-new/recognised-seasonal-employer
For more aboutVinepower, visit:http://www.vinepower.co.nz
Holiday Inn Vanuatu
Camera & Aerial Photography
Editor & Colourist
Post Production Manager