NZ Tonga Business Council Chair on engagement with the Kingdom

Chair of the New Zealand Tonga Business Council (NZTBC), Sione Taufa says the organisation is gearing up towards unprecedented engagement with the Kingdom.



“There are a number of successful Tongan businesspeople in New Zealand, and they generally prefer to focus on the local market in New Zealand and keep a low profile,” says Sione.


“But that’s changing. More of them based in New Zealand see opportunities in the Kingdom. Hopefully, after PACER Plus, there will be more businesses going to Tonga and vice versa.”


The closer ties are reflected with the Council potentially signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tongan Government, with a business mission planned to Tonga in August.


The nation is still recovering from the impact of Cyclone Gita in February, which devastated much of the main island of Tongatapu and Sione believes more help from New Zealand businesses is needed, particularly in relation to reconstruction.


“The quality of housing needs to be improved to ensure Tonga has greater cyclone resilience,” says Sione, who has been NZTBC chair for the past three years.


“There’s also the need to expand our capacity of renewable energy. It’s around 13% with the target being 100% by 2035.”


Sione says growing tourism numbers is are the forefront of growing Tonga’s economy.


“Our neighbours in Fiji, Samoa and the Cook Islands have all benefited from the rise in visitor numbers, so there is significant potential and opportunity for Tonga.”


There are benefits of joining the New Zealand Tongan Business Council such as a being a part of a growing network of trade and Government contacts in Tonga and New Zealand, finding new opportunities and receiving advice from businesses who have succeeded in Tonga and keeping informed of activities, including political and trade matters.


Members also leverage off the Council’s close relationship with Government in relation to matters such as taxation, investment, customs and quarantine requirements.


But what exactly is the NZTBC? It is a not for profit, membership organisation, and the only industry body in New Zealand dedicated to supporting Tonga traders, established in 2010 with the purpose to grow and develop the international relationship between New Zealand and Tonga.


The NZTBC is the first point of contact for many businesses looking to explore opportunities in Tonga and it also services a growing database of business professionals who are actively doing business with Tonga and works closely with the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, Auckland’s premier business organisation.


Because the NZTBC operates its central business hub from the Chamber offices the relationship enables the NZTBC to enjoy first class administrative and accounting support, event management and marketing exposure.


The NZTBC’s role in the business community is to encourage and support bi-lateral trade and grow investment opportunities between New Zealand and Tonga and to also work collaboratively with the Tongan Government and its key stakeholders.


For more information, contact the NZTBC email:


About Pacific Cooperation Foundation

PCF is an independent partnership between public and private sectors in New Zealand and other Pacific Island countries which aims to strengthen partnerships in both the public and private sectors, sharing knowledge and expertise to promote prosperous businesses and communities in the Pacific.


For more information go to the PCF website.