“An amazing success!”
– Slow Food Auckland

A massive thank you from our Pacific Cacao & Chocolate team to all of the sponsors, exhibitors, members of the public, and everyone else involved who helped bring to life what was an amazing, fun, educational and enlightening, culture rich event.
Live streaming via:
Mt Smart Stadium, Eastern & Southern Lounges
—  2022

Slow roasting cacao beans on the fire.

Getting ready to host an Agri-tour,
and meditating on the beans

Koko Samoa chocolate paste made in a wooden bowl called tanoa ku'i koko (mortar and pestle)

The Event

The Pacific Cacao & Chocolate was the first Pacific event dedicated to the evolution of cacao; from commodity and family affair to luxurious branding and world-class flavour profiling.

With something for everyone, this event brought interactive cacao workshops, LOTS of chocolate tastings, a drive into culture, and enlightened consumers to the small business stories from cacao growers and producer's around the Pacific region.

All proving as reminders and confirmation that there are dedicated farmers, passionate chocolate makers, and loving families behind every chocolate bar you consume.

The 2022 event has been supported by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade New Zealand (MFAT) partnership programme through SPS Biota; and is a collaboration between Grow Asia Pacific Charitable Trust, Ms. Sunshine Organic Farms Charitable Trust, Samoa.

We loved celebrating with you all so much that we don’t plan on stopping with just one event! Watch this space!

A huge congratulations to everyone who entered and to our

Competition Winners

2022 Samoan Farmers Award
Suela & Tausala Cook
2022 Koko Samoa Hot Chocolate Award
Fuatino Moli
2022 Producers Pacific Bean-to-Bar Award
GOLD: Foundry Chocolate
SILVER: She Universe
BRONZE: Foundry Chocolate
2022 Youth Cacao Innovators Award
GOLD: Ngāiwi Kahukoka
SILVER: Skyla Grant
2022 Pacific Cup Award
GOLD: Fiji
SILVER: Philippines
BRONZE: Bougainville
2022 Pacific Inspired Hot Chocolate Award
GOLD: She Universe
SILVER: Cacao Infusion
A huge thank you to our

Sponsors & Partners

If you wish to support our event, here's how you can get involved:

Sponsor | Exhibit | Volunteer | Guest speaker | Influencer | Compete | Share

Become a sponsor

Photos from the day


Join the first Cacao & Chocolate Celebration in Aotearoa, hosted by the Pacific People who cultivate it.

Please contact Floris Niu on +64 274 089 061 or email hello@pacificcacao.org.nz for more information.

Register to exhibit with us

Pacific Cacao and Chocolate 2022, is New Zealand’s first authentic celebration of cacao and chocolate, brought to you by the people who cultivate and export it from the Pacific. Exhibiting with us means you are interested and committed to work with Pacific beans, to create new products or to further your connection and weave new stories that will impact your consumers and the world in a positive way.

  • Promote and sell your products to new audiences

  • Enter your Pacific inspired bean-to-bar in the Producer's Bar competition to win some amazing prizes

  • Connect with the Pacific Supply Chain directly

  • Be inspired to try Pacific cacao and tell new cacao stories that are closer to home

  • Join the Pacific Cacao Revolution to foster better trade relations in the region, improve prosperity for farmers, create new products for New Zealand producers

Exhibitor Booth Prices:
  • $500 +gst Standard 3 x 3 Booth (includes VIP Pass for 2 people)
    $200 +gst Country Booth
    $100 +gst Koko Samoa Producer Booth

Revisit our wonderful


The Farmers

Samoan cacao farmers at an Agri-tourism event on Ms Sunshine Organic Farms, Tuana'i Village, Upolu island. Photo by Denisa Manaskova

For more than 130 years the Pacific farmers have been cultivating and exporting fine-flavour cacao varieties; trinitario, amelonado and criollo among others. Farmers predominantly grow cacao as part of multi-crops in smallholder farms. Families or villages help to process the beans through fermentation, drying and packing for export.

In Samoa, cacao is highly consumed locally because it's simply that good! Now the secret is out, as New Zealand chocolatiers and food producers are discovering the goodness, and convenience of sourcing premium quality beans from the Pacific Islands. Still, many people are not aware of the profound history that pacific islanders have with this ancient Latin American superfood.

Cacao, koko or kokoa as it is commonly known in the islands, has contributed to the Pacific’s economic resilience, while remarkably birthing a unique food and social culture. Today, cacao continues to temper the soul and essence of what Pacific Islanders  create in their kitchens.

Farmers Section Photo Credits: Denisa Manaskova

Slow roasting cacao beans on the fire.

Getting ready to host an Agri-tour,
and meditating on the beans

Koko Samoa chocolate paste made in a wooden bowl called tanoa ku'i koko (mortar and pestle)


Cocoa was introduced into Samoa by the 1890s by Germans. Commercial farming reached its peak in the 1960’s but by the early 2000’s it had dwindled to only a handful of cocoa farmers. Despite the decline in commercial production, Samoans continued to supply its biggest client- themselves. The domestic market saw processing techniques changing and Samoans focused on supplying their own families abroad with the famous block of Koko Samoa chocolate. The 150g block can retail up to NZD$15.
Following a visit to Samoa in 2014, Matt Whittaker together with Savaii Koko, set up the ‘Whittaker’s Cocoa Improvement Programme’, to supply better tools to farmers and provide education on sustainable practices. The programme has been a huge success for the Savaii business and its farmers.


"Trinitaro type cacao was introduced from Vanuatu into Santa Cruz in 1935.  By that stage cacao production in Vanuatu was around 2,770 tons that came from around 60 plantations.“; Grant Vinning from his book, Cocoa in the Pacific: First 50 years. Vanuatu is one of the highest producers of cacao in the Pacific, next to Solomon Islands and PNG.

Solomon Islands

“The earliest reference to cocoa in the Solomons...is when Charles Morris Woodford, the energetic High Commissioner for the Western Pacific, visited John Stephens at Ugi in the Makira district in 1896. Woodford observed that Stephens had planted cocoa trees around his house. Woodford also observed that the trees were “diseased and neglected” suggesting they were planted in the late 1880s.", Grant Vinning from his book, Cocoa in the Pacific: First 50 years.


Cacao production in Queensland is in its infancy; producers are located along the wet tropical coast from the Daintree region to south of Tully and focused around the towns of Mossman and Innisfail.
A pioneer of Australian chocolate is Daintree Estates at Mossman, north Queensland. Other producers in the north include the highly awarded Charley's Chocolate Factory at Mission Beach which won an International 2017 Cocoa of Excellence Award in Paris.


Cocoa was introduced to Fiji in 1880 by the British with several varieties; Trinitario from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and Trinidad . The modern day development of the industry was initiated in 1960's when the government made efforts to establish cacao as a smallholder crop to be interplanted with coconut.

"According to local chocolate maker Tomo Zukoshi, in the 1880’s, The Royal Botanical Garden of England sent cacao to Fiji, which by then had been claimed as a British colony. Due to increased taxes on goods from the Caribbean, seeking non-Caribbean sources for cacao had become a high priority for the Brits. So after almost a year’s journey through South Asia and Oceania, cacao trees finally arrived on the islands of Fiji." blog by Dame Cacao

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is the birthplace of some of the most flavourful cocoa beans around the world. But the beans’ natural flavour has consistently been influenced by the local traditional method for drying: wood fire. Farmers dried their beans like this because of the very high humidity. The smoke however had a huge impact on the natural flavour, and consequently the taste of the chocolate. In recent years through the influence of companies like Belcolade, PNG has been transitioning to natural sun-drying methods.


"The first cacao in Asia was planted in the Philippines in 1670 while commercial farms developed in the 1950s. Production level reached 35,000 MT by 1990. However, production started to decline due to several factors such as weather and climatic condition, pests and diseases infestation, and aging trees. The decline was further aggravated by decreasing world market price and competition with other plantation crops such as banana and palm oil. Since 2014 there has been a joint effort by government and the sector to revive the crop.
In 2018, the Philippines produced 7983.20 metric tons of cacao and exported 2732.6 metric tons of cacao beans. Production is highest in the Davao region, representing 82% of total production."
– The Philippine Cacao Industry

Pacific Cacao & Chocolate exhibitor RAUTINI recently launched their new website

Helping Farmers and Chocolate Makers Alike

Improving farm returns and providing market access for growers means connecting them with makers and sellers of premium products.

Rautini offers cacao and coconut products sourced from countries and farmers they work with all over the Asia-Pacific region.

This means both farmers and makers can have confidence and security regarding the traceability, quality, reliability, access, and distribution of primary produce.

For more information about the work they do, check out their new website:

Be wowed by our craft chocolate makers - they have plenty of chocolate for you to try.

The Raglan Chocolate Story

Mike and Simone believe that,

“good chocolate is an exotic treat, made by craftspeople, not the sugary confection made in a large corporation”

Mike was a chef who then turned food technologist, and while he learned to make chocolate years before Raglan Chocolate, he always believed there was a better way to produce good and honest food. Mike was inspired by the alternative, fairness, and authenticity of the bean-to-bar concept that it became the heart of the couple’s business venture, Raglan Chocolate.

Raglan Chocolate was also born out of the encouragement from their small, beach town community. They are the designated Crafter of Pacific Cacao & Chocolate bean-to-bars for the Pacific Cup's Competition with contenders from: Samoa, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Philippines, Bougainville/Papua New Guinea.

Bean-to-bars crafted with Pacific beans by Raglan Chocolate @raglanchocolate


We will be hosting two categories of Competitions:
Major - Pre-judged & announced at the VIP Cacao Awards
  • Samoan Farmer’s Award- bean and chocolate blind tasting - Winner will collaborate with Raglan Chocolate on a limited edition bar for 1 year. Sponsored by PCC 2022

  • Producer's Pacific Bean-to-bar, using beans from any of the following: Samoa, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, PNG/Bougainville, Philippines, Fiji. Sponsored by PCC 2022 and Taumeasina Island Resort, Samoa

  • Youth Cacao Innovators- bonbon & original dish using the beans or chocolate. Open to youth 17-25 y/o. Combination pre-judged and live judging. Sponsored by Ao Tiakarete, Ms Sunshine Organic Farms, Taumeasina Island Resort, Samoa

  • The Pacific Cup- Best beans from around the Pacific. All bars to be crafted by Raglan Chocolate. Judged on Show-day by the Public.

Minor - Live and announced at the Trade Event
  • Best Koko Samoa hot chocolate brewed on the day

  • Best hot chocolate made with Pacific beans – brewed on the day

How the experience went for our


Hear from judge Grant Vinning on how the event day went for him

I spent last week in Auckland as the judges’ coordinator for the Pacific Cacao and Chocolate 2022. It was a delightful combination of a series of cocoa competitions, a trade show, and a number of cultural activities.  The combined nature of the festival evolved from the initial idea of conducting a cocoa competition in Samoa.  Covid put a stop to that.  Thanks to the indefatigable Floris Niu and under the baton of Keith Budd at SPS Biota, the original idea segued to the festival in Auckland.  It was a real buzz.

The Samoan Farmers Award was judged in accordance with the rules used at the biennial Cocoa of Excellence conducted by Bioversity International, CIAT, and the CGIAR.  To start with, all entrants were blind, that is they were given a number.  Thus the four judges and the chocolate maker had numbers not names.  Just the one person – Floris – at the end knew the grower’s name, the grower’s number and the judges’ score for that number.  

There was a small moment of panic when we were drawing up the certificates as no one could find Floris and her magic piece of paper.  We used just the one chocolate maker – Raglan Chocolate at Raglan north of Auckland – who converted the cocoa to chocolate using the same facilities, the same recipe, and the same roasting, grinding, tempering, and wrapping procedures: Mike said he and Simone hand wrapped more than 700 bars.  Uniformity in converting the cocoa to chocolate is vital in a cocoa competition because it ensures that the judges are assessing the skill of the cocoa grower and not the skill of the chocolate maker.  A ten-point scoring was used based on the format developed by the International Institute for Cocoa and Chocolate Tasting in London.  

Medals were awarded on a gold-silver-bronze basis rather than first-second-third.  The four judges agreed on the points needed to achieve the three medals.  The gold-silver-bronze approach means that it is possible for all the entrants to get gold or none of them to get any medal as they must reach a certain standard to get the points.   The judges also provided their judging notes to the contestants.  This was considered a vital step as one of the objectives of the judging was to provide the growers with feedback.  Cocoa judges can identify basic issues such as over-and under fermentation, and faults with the drying process. The Pacific Cup had entrants from Samoa, Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Bougainville.  The judges noted that the outstanding feature of all them was the creaminess of the eventual chocolate.  

There was also a People’ Choice where festival goers could vote: nearly 250 patrons voted.  A hot chocolate competition contrasted quite different styles.  One of the entrants in the Koko Samoa competition used the traditional method of production.  With this the nibs are not been finely pounded, resulting in a drink that requires drinking and a bit of chewing on the crunchy nibs.  The Youth Cacao Innovators Award proved a challenge for the judges.  

The contestants were provided with chocolate made by Tom Hilton from Ao Aotearoa Chocolatier (great tagline: Indigenous owned, Made in England, Trained in London, Mastered in Aotearoa).  The contestants’ dishes had to include chocolate bonbons in one form or another.  We were presented with some stunning creations of great originality and technical skills.  But we were conscious that it was a cocoa – chocolate competition so the prize went to the dish that emphasized the cocoa.  There was also a competition for bar chocolate from makers in New Zealand and Australia.  Here the judges employed criteria such as texture and finish that highlighted the skills of the chocolate maker.  

The prizes were significant, illustrating the great support that the festival got from its sponsors.  For example, the winner of the Samoan Farmers Award received a year’s contract with Raglan Chocolate: remember, everything was blind-based so Mike and Simone had no idea when they were converting the cocoa to chocolate who the eventual winner was.  

Further, they were not judges.  For the Youth Innovator’s Award, Tom is taking the winner to Samoa to show them the cocoa-chocolate chain from the tree upwards. The festival was also highlighted the deep cultural beliefs and practices of the Pacific.  It started with an elaborate ava (kava) welcoming ceremony by the Samoans.  The Peruvian delegation took us through the spiritual origins of the cocoa ceremony and its phallic symbolism.  

Fipe Preuss from Living Koko performed an Hawai’ian dance.  At the formal award ceremony in the evening a representative from Tonga lead the toast to ava in both Tongan and English.  The Minister for Pacific Peoples the Hon. Aupito Su’a William Sio’s opening remarks were in a combination of Samoan and English.

As a I said, it was a real buzz.

Eteuati Ete

Eteuati Ete is a Samoan actor, comedian, and broadcaster who’s perhaps best known amongst the Pasifika community as one half of the Laughing Samoans comedy duo. He was born in Samoa and spent his childhood there, where the growing, processing, and drinking of Koko (cacao) Samoa was an integral part of life. Ete is proud and immensely supportive of the efforts by New Zealand and Australian chocolatiers who source their beans from the Pacific and value Pacific cacao as he does.

Grant Vinning

Grant Vinning is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to cacao, and is a Pacific cocoa specialist, as well as author of the book “Cocoa in the Pacific: First 50 years”, which dives to uncover the true history and beginning of cocoa in the pacific and aims for readers to gain a better appreciation of growers and the industry in the Pacific. Grant also created the Strongim Bisnis Project which worked to improve earnings from cocoa in the Solomon Islands.

Interview with Grant >

Oonagh Browne

Oonagh, the founder of The Cacao Ambassador, and a Master Chocolatier for the past 16 years, now focuses on being a voice for the ancient ingredient Cacao, that makes chocolate. Her knowledge of chocolate and cacao is nothing short of wizardry. Oonagh puts her heart and soul into educating globally on the health benefits of cacao and being with Pacific Cacao farming communities to show and inspire them to enjoy their own crop locally.

“Cacao is an extraordinary daily food for a joyful life”
Wellington, Aotearoa
Luke Owen Smith

Luke is New Zealand's leading craft chocolate expert, a regular judge at the NZ Chocolate Awards, and founder of The Chocolate Bar, NZ’s premiere craft chocolate retailer. In 2019, he created the Exclusive Pacific Chocolate Box - a collaboration project that brought together NZ's most talented chocolate makers and the Pacific region's best cacao suppliers. For years, he has been promoting high quality and ethical chocolate, and has writing about it for Cuisine, Dish Magazine and Kia Ora.

Tāmaki makaurau, Aotearoa
Thomas Hilton

Tom Hilton has had many amazing successes and opportunities early in his life that saw his love for chocolate and crafting emerge as well as igniting a passion for the origin and history of cacao and the bean to bar concept. In 2021 Tom created Ao Tiakarete and began forging his path as a “trailblazing Māori chocolatier” as well as striving to unite people across Polynesia and bring forward greater community involvement within the industry.

“My dream now is to become the first world renowned Māori chocolatier”
Carl Frazier, founder

VIP Cacao Awards

6:30pm - 8:30pm

Tickets: $75 p/p (or included in cost of Exhibitors booth)

  • Ca-cava ceremonial drink

  • Keynote Speaker

  • Cacao Awards Presentation by MFAT

  • Canapes, Chocolate, Networking, Cultural Performances

  • Final Words by the Organisers

save these dates

Event-week programme

Monday 18th July

Pre-event Webinar/ Talanoa: Farmer and Chocolate-maker Stories

Thursday 21st July

Pre-judging of Major Competitions (Judges only)

Saturday 23rd July

Part 1: Trade Event 8:30am - 4.00pm
Part 2: VIP Cacao Awards 6.30 - 8.30pm (limited tickets)

Friday 29th July

Post-event Webinar/ Talanoa: Reflections with special industry guests

Pacific beats, voices, movement, and plenty of hot chocolate will keep you warm.


Registrations Open
Public registrations and entry to the event open
9:00 - 9:40am
Pōwhiri & Ava Ceremony with Minister
Traditional welcome
Outside entry and main foyer
10:00 - 10:30am
The History of Cacao in the Pacific
Grant Vinning- verbal/visual presentation. The Samoan Women Organic Farmers demonstrate the art of making Koko Samoa (from the beans) through story. With the help of the audience & traditional dance
Main Stage.
10:40 - 11:00am
Oonagh Browne-The Cacao Ambassador
The Cacao Ambassador takes us on a Journey from ancient cacao to modern day chocolate in a powerful interactive sensory experience from bean to the bar, nibs, powder, block.
Live streaming
11:20 - 11:50am
Youth Cacao Innovator Competition
Live final, plate presentation hosted by bespoke Maori chocolatier - Tom Hilton of Ao Tiakarete
Live streaming
12:00 - 12:30pm
Workshop with Living Koko "The Koko Sensory Experience"
Taking cacao from her Samoan homeland, Fipe Preuss will take you on a heart-led journey through the Pacific islands- using the breath and mindfulness techniques
South Lounge - booking required. Limited to 30 per session.
12:30 - 1:30pm
Lunch break
A time to peruse the event
1:30 - 2:30pm
Pacific Islands Introduction and cultural performances
As the judges judge the Koko Samoa & Pacific inspired hot chocolates, enjoy performances from: Papua New Guinea/ Bougainville, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu ,Philippines, Fiji
Live streaming
2:40 - 2:50pm
Winners of Hot Chocolate Competitions Announced
Winners of both the Koko Samoa and Pacific inspired hot chocolate competitions announced by Ete Eteuati
Location: Eastern Lounge, Main Stage
3:00 - 3:30pm
Organisers Final Remarks
Final remarks by the organisers and partners of the event
Live streaming
Event Closing
Venue closed for VIP event
South Lounge Opens
Refreshments and garlands at entry. Optional photography
South Lounge
Opening remarks
Opening remarks by Honourable Minister of Pacific Peoples; Associate Minister of Health; Assoc Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Aupito Su’a William Sio. MC: Ete Eteuati
Keynote Speaker
Amataileui Stella Muller - Bright Sunday
Special Intermission
Ete to announce a special Toast by Asiata. Refreshments break.
Introduce Keith Budd & Floris Niu to begin the Awards ceremony
7:15 - 7:30pm
Award ceremony
Awards presented for: 1. The Samoan Farmer’s Friendship Bar Award, 2. The Producer’s Bean to Bar award, 3. The Youth Cacao Innovator’s award, 4. The Pacific Cup Bean to Bar award
Live Streaming
Final remarks by MFAT and Partners/ Sponsors Close formalities
Live Streaming
Refreshments break
Special Performance by Living Koko’s Fipe Preuss
Live Streaming
Connect and Mingle
Photo opportunity
Venue closes
Event is concluded
12pm - 1:30pm
Monday 18th July Live Promotional Webinar/ Talanoa
Facebook live, Youtube: Pre-show interviews with panelists, videos, farmer and chocolate maker stories.
12:00pm - 1:30pm
Friday 29th July Live Reflections Webinar/ Talanoa
Facebook live, Youtube: Post-show Reflections guest speakers.
need to know more?


How do I purchase tickets?

Tickets are available now on Eventbrite

Buy tickets

Can I buy tickets on the day?

Yes, we will have tickets available to purchase on the day and will be accepting cash and eftpos

How much does it cost to attend the show as a member of the public?

Adults $15
Students/ Senior Citizens $7
Children 5-12 years $5

How much is an exhibitor's booth?

$500 NZD Standard booth 3 x 3m (includes 2 entries to the VIP Cacao Awards)
$200 NZD Standard booth for country/ farmers (includes 1 entry to the VIP Cacao Awards)
$100 NZD Koko Samoa exhibitor booth