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Who we are

Our Founder

Dr Dan Etherington, focussed his research on the plight of the coconut industry in the South Pacific. Before retiring Dr Dan was an Agricultural Economist at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University. After retirement he invented and developed Direct Micro Expelling (DME®), and with four others started Kokonut Pacific Pty Ltd.

Virgin Coconut Oil

Coconut farmers were faced with enormous fluctuations in the price of their primary export commodity ‘copra’.  They received very little income for their hard work and once the copra was exported, they never saw the oil it produced. A major outcome of Dan’s research was the development of a process whereby smallholders could themselves produce Virgin Coconut Oil within one hour of opening a coconut, resulting in a premium grade oil.

In 1994, with the support of four friends, he set up Kokonut Pacific Pty Ltd to develop and commercialise the “Direct Micro Expelling” (DME®) process.

In 2008 Dr Dan Etherington was awarded Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his invention of small-scale coconut oil extraction technology and his contributions to sustainable agricultural and economic development in the South Pacific region.

Life Changing

The DME® process has evolved significantly since 1994 and is now being used by many countries throughout the Tropics. 

The success of the process at raising income levels is overwhelming. This has led to improved housing, access to clean water, better education, health and lifestyle. DME® Virgin Coconut Oil has truly become the oil that changes lives.

For Profit

As a ‘for-profit’ ‘social enterprise’, Kokonut Pacific was ahead of its time.  It was innovative: it made profits to survive but did not distribute its profits to its five shareholders. In 2013 it activated its long-time ambition and registered the Niulife Foundation with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC). 

Our Motto

 ‘Empowering and Bringing Hope’, reflected the ‘social enterprise’ and ‘impact investment’ concepts well before these terms were in common use. 

Driven by this purpose, Kokonut Pacific donates 100% of its profits to the Niulife Foundation which invests into projects that help alleviate poverty by building business based on sustainable agricultural resources.

What's in a Name?

‘Niu’ is the common name for coconut throughout the Pacific and is pronounced exactly as ‘New’ in English, so we thought that ‘Niulife’ was a neat play on words and gives purpose and meaning to our brand name.