News 24 Nov 2017
A full-house at the 2017 Pacific Heads of Mission Breakfast is just one example of the growing interest of New Zealand businesses in the region.
Facilitated by Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), the Pacific-based Heads of Mission (HOM) have included the networking breakfast in their annual visit to NZ for the past few years.
The November 24 event, staged at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre on the fifth and final day of the HOM visit, has grown each year, with more members of the business community reaching out to the HOM and other attendees to learn about opportunities and challenges faced in the region.
New Zealand Head of Mission in Niue, HE Ross Ardern (pictured below) has been in his current role since March 2014.
Prior to that, he had spent nine years based in Apia and Niue and during his time in the region he visited almost every Pacific nation in his role as NZ Police Liaison Officer.
Speaking at the breakfast, Ross says it is a particularly buoyant time for the Pacific, with the new government focusing on the region, and more opportunities for agencies arising across the Pacific through MFAT.
“It is a buoyant time and there seems to be a lot of energy going into new projects – there are new ideas and innovation, and from that, new opportunities arise,” Ross says.
Connectivity and the installation of submarine internet cables around the region will open the Pacific up to a global market, and it should boost the economy, he adds.
The benefits of the HOM attending a function such as the 2017 Pacific HOM Breakfast are clear for Ross.
“It is a great networking opportunity – we are here as a collective, and it is a chance to see the depth and scope of the activities happening right across the Pacific.”
This year’s breakfast is the first Reid Technology’s Tony Bryant (pictured below with Sione Taufa, NZTBC) has attended, and from sitting at the “Tonga” table, it has already proved fruitful.
“We do a lot of business across the Pacific in different industries such as large scale solar and aids for navigation,” Tony explains.
“I have gained a few leads from this breakfast, and got the inside running on upcoming opportunities from the HOM.”
Throughout the event, each HOM provided an update on the opportunities and challenges happening in their respective posts at the breakfast, before the floor opened for networking.
Many nations share common areas with potential opportunities to be explored such as within tourism, while they also face the same sorts of issues and challenges, surrounding health, climate change and technology among others.
PCF Chief Executive Officer Craig Strong says after hearing the HOM speak, it demonstrates the need to approach business regionally.
“We need to look at each country and their points of difference and push those things, but work together and cooperatively where we can to make things happen,” Craig adds.
Having been in the PCF CEO role for just one month, Craig also had a unique opportunity to meet with the HOM to provide an outline of the Foundation’s vision going forward, before the group continued their final day of their tour.