Pacific Islands Trade & Invest’s (PT&I’s) delegation of 25 small Pacific Island businesses was a hit at Auckland’s Pasifika Festival in March. It was the largest delegation yet to attend, and showcase their products at, the two-day festival under the PT&I Pacific Path to Market programme.
The companies, from Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, say it was a valuable and wonder experience.
With each of the small businesses gaining a good understanding of Pasifika’s varied audiences and demand for the wide range of products including coconut oil, coffee, chocolate, kava, handicrafts, and mahogany products to adventure tours.
Many delegates who had never been to Auckland’s Pasifika Festival, found it quite an experience and an eye opener with the wide range of visitors.
Tarita Holm from Palauan Made in Palau didn’t realise how big Pasifika would be.
She sold almost all of her Beach Almond Roca, coconut candies and taro cookies and chips but saved some samples for this week’s business to business meetings.
Yvette Paea from True Vava’u in Tonga said the response to her candlenut oil products from buyers was very good.
“We had good sales because my product is very different from coconut oil.”
Dubbed the ‘Oil for the Royals’ Ms Paea said they sold out of the product because it is hard to get.
She was pleased to be a part of the delegation, “I feel important,” she said.
“We were taken care of, from the marae welcome, to the get together, it was a good experience and we can meet with other producers and compare and learn from them.”
Mrs Paea says the Gap Analysis workshop would help her to improve her product and its marketing- teaching her valuable lessons like how to enter a New Zealand market.
“The whole programme was very professional and not just about selling but to network and promote and improve ourselves. There’s a lot more to it,” she added.
For many festival goers, the presence of the Micronesian and Melanesian countries was a welcome addition to Pasifika Festival.
It was also a great opportunity for the local Solomon Islands, PNG, Vanuatu, Marshall Islands and Palauan communities to come out in support.
PT&I Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade said many of the participants reported stock sell-outs and Saturday, in particular, was a very busy day.
“We are working through the lessons learnt from Pasifika with our participants with the hope we can make their waka (business) go faster.”
The PT&I Pacific Path to Market programme is a structured approach to the market in New Zealand, starting with export capability building workshops in the Pacific Islands.
Companies with potential to export were selected in partnership with the local Economic Development Agency to move onto the next stage of the Path to Market programme.
Last year, PT&I successfully delivered workshops in 10 Pacific Island countries.
This Trade Mission will focus on three main areas:
- Participation at the Pasifika Festival
- Gap Analysis Workshop
- Business to Business meetings.
More about PT&I
PT&I is a Trade Promotion Organisation (TPO) representing 16 Pacific island countries across the region. (Cook Islands, Fiji, FSM, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.)