Industry Advice 29 Aug 2018
As President of the New Zealand Fiji Business Council and Managing Director of Pacific Engineering Projects Ltd based in Auckland, Chandar Sen describes business between the two nations as “better than ever”.
“There has been a phenomenal growth in trade in recent years,” says Chandar. “But what make the New Zealand Fiji Business Council and the Fiji-NZ Business Council so effective is the support from both governments. Together they’re recognised as a bilateral council which benefits both nations.”
Chandar recalls an event in Fiji by their sister council two years ago which the then-NZ Prime Minister John Key. This was followed by Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama being hosted to a dinner with the members in New Zealand.
“When you have leaders from both governments present and actively participating, it’s the highest form of endorsement for the council and good for business,” he says.
“The types and sizes of businesses can range from small to medium businesses to giant multinational companies like Fonterra.”
New Zealand's bilateral engagement with Fiji continues to grow in terms of two-way trade, tourism, defence and development in the wake of the democratic elections held in September 2014. New Zealand is providing assistance to the Fiji Electoral Office in preparation for its national elections this year.
The two nations have a history of close ties spanning culture, sport, business, defence cooperation and education.
Fiji is a regional hub and a key partner for New Zealand in the Pacific. It’s also where Chandar was born and raised. From the village of Sabeto on the west coast of Fiji near Nadi, Chandar attended Natabua High School and did his Foundation studies at the University of South Pacific in Suva.
He came to New Zealand on an NZ Government scholarship to study an engineering degree at the University of Auckland. Chandar graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering with First Class Honours and an Executive MBA from the University of Auckland, where he was recognised on the Deans List for excellence in academic performance.
He returned to Fiji, worked for the Fiji Sugar Corporation (as a Mechanical Engineer) then the Fiji Electricity Authority (Acting Hydro Engineer Power) before he moved to New Zealand.
Three decades later Chandar heads an engineering business whose core activities are in the environmental, fish processing, food processing, mining and mineral processing, oil and gas, petrochemical, and chemical, power distribution and generation, pulp and paper as well as water and wastewater sectors. His work spans across the Pacific, including Palau in the north.
He is a Chartered Professional Engineer and a member of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand and the Institution of Professional Engineers Samoa.
Chandar encourages those interested in doing business in Fiji, or with Fijian companies to join a New Zealand Fiji Business Council, to do so.“Fiji has had a long-standing trade relationship with New Zealand, and the Business Missions play a key role by growing and strengthening your network and meeting the people you need to meet.”