True Vava’u, located on Tonga’s picturesque island of Vava’u, makes a range of products using natural ingredients.

The company first started with coconut oil, using the traditional Tongan way of making body oil, infusing coconuts with local flowers and scented leaves like Ylang Ylang, red ginger, spice and cinnamon.

Explaining the process, True Vava’u owner Yvette Paea says, “Coconuts are scraped and milk squeezed out, then placed in a large iron pot together with the flowers or scented leaves. The contents are stirred on a low fire for several hours until the coconut milk turns to oil. These are left overnight to cool and then sieved and bottled.”

Due to the number of requests from Tongans living overseas asking after candlenut oil, Ms Paea added the product to the company’s offering. “Candlenut Oil processing is time consuming and labour intensive. It is dubbed the ‘Oil for Royals’, because in the olden days, only the Royal Family and nobility had the people to process candlenut oil for their personal use.

“Processing includes collecting the nuts, cracking them individually by hand, crushed, sun-dried and squeezing out the oil by hand.  Candlenuts have been used in Tonga for centuries in making body oil as also what in Tongan is called ‘Tukilamulamu’, which is like a soap or shampoo used in the olden days.”

Candlenuts and coconuts body oils as well as body-scrubs are the company’s main products. However, recently, True Vava’u has added the following products albeit in small volumes: Coconut Sugar Syrup, Coconut Hot Chillie Sauce, Candlenut Soap Flakes, Vavau Vanilla, Vavau Kava Tonga, Vavau Mabe Pearls and Vavau Handicrafts.

In November 2016, the company opened a gifts and souvenir shop at the new Tanoa International Dateline Hotel in Nukualofa (licensed under True Vava’u) where the company’s products as well as other locally made handicrafts and goods from other Pacific Islands are sold.

Ms Paea will be at Pasifika representing True Vava’u as part of the Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I) NZ Pacific Path to Market programme.

For more information, please email Joe Fuavao, Trade Development Manager PT&I NZ at

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