You Only Live Once

You Only Live Once

Friday, 16 May 2014

Some background....

It's hard to believe that by the end of this week the children and I would have been in Vanuatu for 5 weeks already!

My lovely friend Barb DeLeo (successful romantic novelist) has done a wonderful job of encouraging me to write a blog. I mentioned to her that I wanted to spend my time in Vanuatu doing totally different things to what I would do at home and things I had always wanted to do.
I have always loved I am good at it is another matter...I suppose time will tell!

Barbara DeLeo
Barbara Deleo - giving her a plug!

I had wanted to start this blog while preparing for our move but things were so busy that it is only now that I am getting a chance to sit down...breathe and get typing.

My first few posts are at risk of being too long (I apologise for this in advance) but I think some background is required....for some of you (my friends) this may be boring as you have already lived and breathed this period of my life.

To give you some background, my husband, Jono, and I are co-owners of a business in NZ called Vinepower. We have the most fantastic business partners, Lou and Jason Kennard who have the same philosophy on life, around living life to the fullest and having the best time we can while creating a solid future for our families and our staff.

Lou & Jason Kennard - great friends and supportive Vinepower business partners

Marlborough Vineyard - Autumn - ready for pruning

Vinepower is a vineyard contracting business based in Blenheim at the top of the South Island in NZ, we are large RSE employers which means we recruit many of our staff from the Pacific, including Vanuatu.

A new group of workers heading to NZ last week

Ni-Vanuatu ladies wrapping vines in Blenheim - it is very cold!

Jono and I fell in love with this country and have holidayed here for for the past 7 years with our children - Jack 10, Millie 9 and Joe 5. Jono also comes here about 4 times a year recruiting staff for Vinepower.

For a few years now we have been looking at different business ideas that we could set up here so that when our staff come home from their time in NZ they have work to come home to.

So in partnership with Jason and Lou, we have created a new business called Tanna Farms which contract grows coffee beans for Tanna Coffee and will produce virgin coconut oil. This business is being established on Tanna Island where many of our staff come from and with which we have strong ties with. With any new business there is a lot to do in setting it up so because Jono needed to initially be here more than in NZ we decided to pack up our family and come over to experience living here for 6 months. This of course would not be possible without the support of Jason & Lou as while we are here they will continue to run Vinepower in NZ.

Coconut Plant being built on Tanna Island

So that you have some understanding as to why we are involved in so much, Jono is a man who always needs a new project and a new adventure! We have a few sideline businesses to Vinepower, including a small Vineyard in Thailand growing table grapes, an accommodation business which houses our RSE staff and a 50 acre Vineyard growing Sauvignon Blanc which we are 1 of 10 shareholders in and also manage on behalf of the shareholder group.

So here we are.....


  1. Wow great blog Claire!! Love the title and your reasons for being in Vanuatu! So jealous!!! Enjoy - you only live once!!! xxx

  2. Thanks so much George! Secretly was a bit nervous about my 1st post as still not sure about writing publicly! But we are experiencing so many different and amazing things here it does a shame not to share it!

  3. Great first post, Claire! Really looking forward to following your incredible journey