WCF Choc & Kava Night!

Dear Friends of WCF and the Wellington Chocolate Voyage,

If you are in Wellington this Friday night (30th October, 6pm) we would love to have you join us for a very special celebration and fundraiser – a night of kava and chocolate!

We are celebrating the arrival earlier this week of the Uto ni Yalo’s Fijian crew into Wellington. The last leg from the Solomon Islands to New Zealand was 29 days at sea!

It’s been an epic journey over the past  3 months, lets send them home in style. The evening is a fundraiser to support the Fijian crew’s journey home, and will include a Fijian kava ceremony, live music (including songs by the Fijian crew), kava to share and, of course, chocolate!

During the evening, a crew from The Bicycle Junction will be cycling the tonne of Bougainville beans from the waterfront to the Factory – so it’s also a chance to come cheer them on!

Entry is by donation. If you are unable to attend, please consider sharing the event via Facebook (link below). We are hoping to get enough people here to show the crew real Wellington hospitality and a great time!


Hope to see you there!

kava 1

ceremony 3


Uto Arrives today! Activity schedule …

It’s arrival time! The crew have had a breather, the beans have cleared customs and the team is ready to come home. Here is a rundown of events over the next 5 days:

The Uto will come into wellington today. They will be guided in at 5:30pm by the ceremonial waka Te Rerenga Kotare, Poutu of Te Atiawa/Tarakani Whanui. They will berth at the entrance to Chafers Marina (behind Te Papa), come down and be part of the welcoming committee!

There will be a formal welcome ceremony at Te Raukura – Wharewaka Function Center at 6pm. If the weather is fine this will take place outside, if not it will be inside. Because space is limited inside is invitation only but you are more than welcome to come and watch everything up to that point. It is the Uto’s first visit to Wellington so it will be quite special.

A map and directions of where to go for the arrival and ceremony is below.

There will be an “Uto Open Day” where people can come and meet the crew, go on board and have a look around and ask lots of questions. The exact day and time is not yet known but will be sometime Thursday – Saturday. We’ll confirm details shortly.

On Friday the Wellington Chocolate Factory will host a Chocolate Kava Night with traditional Fijian music, maybe some dancing and lots of storytelling. It will be a fundraiser for the Uto ni Yalo Trust, donation at the door and is bound to be a great night! We will post more details shortly.

Directions for the Welcome:

The Uto will berth at the entrance to Chafers Mariner, behind Te Papa. Arrow pointing out the spot on the map below, you won’t miss her.

map    enterance

Ceremony will be held at Te Raukura (Wharewaka’s Function Centre). It is located in Odlins Square on Wellington’s Waterfront, 15 Jervois Quay. Main function room entrance is via the Lagoon side of the building.

Vehicle access: However access to the waterfront is via the Taranaki St Wharf entrance to “pack in” is gained by calling our main office 04 499 8180, via the cable street entrance to the wharf. A loading zone is located by our building – however there is no parking available by the building.


Cable Street – Tournament parking, this is located across the road from Te Papa, 2 minute walks to us http://www.tournament.co.nz/location/the-cable-street-carpark

The James Smiths Carpark – just across the road from us 3 minute walk http://www.tournament.co.nz/location/the-james-smiths-carpark/

Te Papa – Same side of road as us 1-2 minute walk http://www.tepapa.govt.nz/VisitingTePapa/Parking/Pages/Parkingspecials.aspx

Kate in Bougainville

By Kate Logan

Our initial arrival into Bougainville’s Buka town was a buzz with the excited trill of circling speedboats and curious locals all pleased to see us. After clearing customs we sailed down to Tinputz where we were lucky enough to see a pod of dolphins en route.

Uto in Tinputz

The Uto in Tinputz

The welcome ceremony at Tinputz was mind blowing – and not just from the beetle nut. Our crew received a traditional welcome with sing sing and dancing, as well as a foot bathing ritual for safe passage on arrival. To reciprocate, members of our Fijian crew performed a kava ceremony for the chiefs of the village as well as an energetic Bole that was enjoyed greatly by all the locals.

There were many speeches made by local cocoa growers and members of the community about the importance of sustainable agriculture in Bougainville. Gabe Davidson from the Wellington Chocolate Factory spoke about the purpose of our voyage in transporting locally sourced cocoa beans back to Wellington, and how he hopes it will be the first of many future transactions to take place with cocoa growers in the region.

Our stay in Tinputz was very enjoyable and we were most grateful for the kind hospitality of the locals, especially Ursula Rakova, who provided us with an onshore space to cook and hangout in and was always so helpful. Myself and Lambert (the best cook ever) took art supplies to the preschool that exists at Ursula’s place and did some art projects with the kids there. They were quite shy to start off with but they soon got into the swing of things and enjoyed experimenting with all the different materials provided. Thanks heaps to The Learning Connexion for gifting these great art supplies. I’m sure they will be well utilized!

Tinputz child

The Wellington Chocolate Factory team went and visited James Rutana at his cocoa farm and were able to see first hand the drying machine for which this project had raised money for. It was especially great for Mandie, one of our NZ voyagers, to be able to see this as she was one of the main sponsors towards this project.

Eventually the tonne of cocoa beans purchased from James’s farm were brought down to the wharf in Tinputz and with much sweat and gusto 16 sacks were loaded into both hulls of the Vaka. The local kids and adults who had been curiously watching the Vaka from shore were invited on board for a tour by Skipper Angelo. All in all it was a great spectacle and an enjoyable occasion for all involved.

Robert and Rochelle

Robert Critchley and Sankamap Exports with Rochelle

Getting ready to go again

The Uto crew and locals after loading the cocoa onto the Vaka

Sadly for me now my time on this voyage has come to an end, as I have to get back to my land bound reality in Aotearoa. It has been an adventure of a life time and one I will cherish forever. It was a pleasure getting to know and document such and lovely bunch of individuals and I feel honoured to have been accepted in as part of the crew – vinaka vakalevu!

The Uto ni Yalo has now set sail for Honiara where they will stop briefly before continuing on into the wintery south pacific. I look forward to meeting them in Wellington and jumping back on board to document the arrival. Safe sailing till then crew. It’s been a blast. Moce.



Kate and local dudes