Eyes on the Wellington Chocolate Voyage
The Wellington Chocolate Voyage Kickstarter campaign is counting down and everyone is hoping they’ll hit the $36,000 target needed to start the project.<!--more-->
Gabe Davidson and Rochelle Harrison of the Wellington Chocolate Factory launched the Kickstarter campaign on November 6 to help Bougainville cocoa bean grower ‘Mr Cocoa’ James Rutana upgrade drying facilities on the farm, Gabe travelling to Bougainville to buy 1 ton of cocoa beans, returning to Wellington with the beans via sailing ship and producing the new Bougainville Bar.
This week, the campaign hit just over $18,000 from more than 300 backers. In a phone interview with Periscope, Gabe says there had been the usual spikes and drops in the campaign. One person from a television company in the South Island had already pledged another $8,000 to travel aboard the boat and further interest has come from a large electricity company in New Zealand interested but yet to be confirmed and signed off.
“It’s been stressful not knowing but we have faith people will come through at the last minute”
James is very excited and he and Gary his business partner are 100% committed but they understand it’s a test run. “One way or another, we’re going to make it happen” says Gabe but he admits there are no guarantees.
They are also looking at raising more funds through corporates, government organisations with team building events, customized chocolate bars and chocolate courses.
Gabe has two boats in mind to freight the cocoa beans from Bougainville to Wellington and says wind sailed freight shipping is already happening in countries such as Brazil. One chocolate factory is already shipping to France and returning with French wine. If this venture works it could be a model that could work for other countries.
Chocolate factories worldwide are using beans from Madagascar, Peru and the Dominican Republic but their point of difference will be using beans from the Pacific.
Earlier this year, PT&I Trade Manager Mona Mato and PNG Senior Marketing Officer Ken Pep met went to Wellington to meet with the Wellington Chocolate Factory owners Gabe and Rochelle to make contact for the future.
The story has featured on news sites, TVNZ Breakfast and TV 3 news – for more information click <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wellingtonchocolate/the-wellington-chocolate-voyage">here.</a>