News Item

​Pacific Wave Samoa sends ripples through region

News 10 Sep 2017

The Pacific Wave Samoa 2017 opened with a poignant message from Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa, Hon Fiame Naomi Mataafa stating the forum’s purpose is to bring together some of the greatest minds in technology from around the globe, in the collective pursuit of the Blue Pacific vision - a prosperous Pacific region.

The one-day forum at Apia’s Sheraton Aggie Greys Hotel has certainly achieved this goal, with over 300 people gathering from the ICT, business, government, secondary and tertiary education sectors, to learn and share about embracing digital technology and how the region can benefit from this movement.

Staged as a side event to the 48th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders Meeting in Apia which got underway last week, Friday’s conference attracted a number of influential guests, including New Zealand Foreign Minister Hon Gerry Brownlee, Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, and Dean of the NZ Diplomatic Core and Samoan High Commissioner to NZ Leasi Papalii HE Tommy Scanlan, to name a few.

Following the Deputy Prime Minister’s opening address, Minister of Communication and Information Technology Samoa Hon. Afamasaga Rico Tupa'i, launched the Samoan Communications Sector Plan 2017/18 - 2021/22, before the impressive line-up of keynote speakers got underway.

Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Crimson Education Jamie Beaton enthralled the audience, and at just 22 years old, he has been an obvious hit with the younger audience members selected to attend the forum.

A highlight for these college students was sitting down and having their own audience with some of the guest speakers, including Jamie Beaton, who truly has inspired this group.

Keynote speakers following Jamie including CEO of Vend Alex Fala; CEO of UpGuard Mike Baukes; and Country Manager of Xero Craig Hudson also attracted a lot of engagement from the audience, stimulating plenty of discussion around the theme.

These speakers set a positive tone for the afternoon panel discussions with the Iwi Perspectives of Innovative Technology panel a hit.

Panellists Mike Walsh, NZ Deputy High Commissioner; CEO of Te Ohu Kaimoana Maori Fisheries Dion Tuuta; CEO of Ngati Whatua Rangimarie Hunia; and Director of Three Little Birds Wiwini Hakaraia encouraged engagement from the audience on how to achieve the “collective pursuit” component of a prosperous future.

Along with NZ’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with support from Samoan Government and Samoa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, PCF successfully staged the first Pacific Wave in the region.

Programme Development Manager of PCF Leaupepe Taala Ralph Elika says hosting this event has been significant for the Foundation, as it has provided high visibility, profile and the opportunity to be involved with a unique meeting of minds, which will lead to greater cooperation in the technology and communications sector, across the region.

The event also placed a renewed emphasis and greater significance on the submarine cable, which will enable greater technology, enabling the success of the Sector Plan.

“Events like this one allow for the Pacific to have access to global influencers and leaders of technology, and in turn these same leaders have access to a new pool of diverse Pacific talent,” Ralph says.

“It is a win-win scenario.”

Chairman of PCF Peter Kiely (pictured below with Jamie Beaton) and fellow board member Andrew Wilson were present at the Pacific Wave Samoa with Peter also attending the Private Sector Dialogue earlier in the week.

A cocktail reception followed the forum, where attendees were able to network and engage with other guests.

The feedback from the Pacific Wave has been hugely positive, and people have already begun to ask about another forum.

PCF would like to thank all those who have made hosting the Pacific Wave in Apia possible, and to all those who have helped make it a great success.

(Main picture caption: Pacific Wave Samoa guest speakers are thanked at the close of the forum, in Apia.)