Rabaul’s Virgin Coconut Oil Industry: Tuesday’s of Texture

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© irene waters 2018

Rabaul was virtually wiped out by the twin eruptions of volcanos Tavurvur and Vulcan in 1994. The town was moved to Kokopo which is now the provincial capital of New Britain – a safe distance from any further volcanic activity. Slowly the town of Rabaul, which used to be the most beautiful city in Papua New Guinea is being repopulated as people return and start to rebuild. In September of 2013 the Rabaul Virgin Coconut Oil Industry was commenced to benefit the people of Rabaul and give a market to the rural sector.

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© irene waters 2018

On our arrival we we sat under shelters and were given a lecture by the manager who explained the Public Private Partnership, the company’s mission – “manufacture and distribute Virgin Coconut Oil, in a safe, reliable, efficient, and environmentally sound manner,” and the company’s vision for the future – ” creating spin off business opportunities for the locals, thus improving their standard of living. We aim to be a recognized performance leader in Virgin Coconut Oil manufacture, in Papua New Guinea.” He talked us through the process before husking a coconut. Such an easy process when you know how. The last one we tried to husk quite recently was a disastrous attempt as we didn’t have a machete and we ended up using the circular saw. Both dangerous and ineffective. Now if our next door neighbour presents us with another we will know what to do. Finally he pointed out the benefits before taking us on a guided tour of the factory.

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© irene waters 2018

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© irene waters 2018

Although the outer husk had been removed the flesh had to be separated from the inner nut using both grinding wheel and machete.

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The flesh was then shredded.

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Before pressing began.

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© irene waters 2018

Bottled and ready to go. I was impressed. This week they were having a meeting with some Australians – hopefully they will be successful in marketing it to them. This was the only local initiative we saw in our two weeks in New Guinea. In fact it was the only initiative we saw by anyone in a country where the majority are poverty stricken, living a subsistence existence.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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8 Responses to Rabaul’s Virgin Coconut Oil Industry: Tuesday’s of Texture

  1. I knew it had to come from somewhere but i never thought about where. Thanks for the education!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Building local industry is a great idea. Nicely documented, Irene.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Coconut products are emerging as the new health food. If they market this well, they should be successful. Great post, with information that can be helpful to us all!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Coconut products seem to be very popular now, Irene. I hope these poor people can make some money out of this.

    Liked by 1 person

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