AUCKLAND, (PT &I) – Pacific Islands Trade & Invest’s delegation of 25 small Pacific Island businesses has given the four-day Pacific Path to Market programme the thumbs up.
The representatives from eight Pacific Islands countries, arrived for Auckland’s Pasifika Festival 26-27 March. They are returning to their home islands after a successful and busy two-day programme.
This was Pacific Islands Trade & Invest’s biggest delegation to attend and showcase their products under the PT&I Pacific Path to Market programme at the Pasifika Festival on 26-27 March 2017. The companies were from Palau, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.
For many delegates, attending Auckland’s Pasifika Festival for the first time, was an eye opener – the range and numbers of visitors and the potential demand for their products ranging from coconut and candlenut oil, coffee, chocolate, kava, handicrafts, mahogany products to adventure tours.
The PT&I Pacific Path to Market programme on Monday and Tuesday was an even bigger highlight with an intensive one-day Gap Analysis workshop including business presentations and learning about product development, packaging and labelling.
The delegation attended field visits on Day Two to Auckland’s Fish Market, to large and niche supermarkets and a warehousing company. The programme ended with Business to Business speed dating session and a Trade Mission debrief at the Te Mahurehure Marae in Pt Chevalier.
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’ Paea said they sold out of the product because it is hard to get. But she was also very pleased about being 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.” Paea said the Gap Analysis workshop helped her to improve her product and learn more on how to market products and 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 festival goers, the presence of the Micronesian and Melanesian countries was a welcome addition to Pasifika.
Tarita Holm from Palauan Made in Palau said, “I didn’t realise it [Pasifika] was so big.” Holm had sold much of her Beach Almond Roca, coconut candies and taro cookies and chips but saved some samples for this week’s business to business meetings. Holm said she loved the workshops, learning more about other products and networking with other businesses from around the Pacific and getting more ideas.
PT&I Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade said “Stage 3 of the Pacific Path to Market programme, the attendance at the Pasifika exhibition on Saturday and Sunday has come and gone and by and large been very successful.
We thank Adele for keeping the bad weather away for as long as possible. Many of our participants have reported stock sell-outs and Saturday in particular, was a very busy day. This week we were 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 delegation began their four day programme with a Maori Powhiri (welcome) at the Te Mahurehure Marae in Point Chevalier Friday before the start of the festival.
The 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 focused on three main areas – (1) Participation at the Pasifika Festival, (2) Gap Analysis Workshop and (3) Business to Business meetings.