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Don Mann | CEO September 2019 Pānui

News 7 Sep 2019

Mālō e lelei kainga Pasifiki,

'Ofa pe 'oku mou ma'u ha uike lea fakaTonga fiefia. Ko e kaveinga 'o e uike lea Tonga ko e, Fakakoloa 'o Aotearoa 'aki 'a e tauhi fonua.

Welcome to our latest pānui for this month. Today marks the last day for Tongan Language Week 2019 in New Zealand and as a proud Tongan it has been wonderful to see our Tongan community come out in full force promoting the language and culture – myself included, encouraging many others to give the language a go.

Last month has been a busy period for us at PCF with a number of new opportunities and partnerships that have arisen, but with new opportunities comes new directions and changes which I will announce below.

Sela Maka

The New Zealand Ministry for Pacific Peoples hosted its ninth Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards which we were delighted to support for the second time sponsoring the PCF International Scholar Award. Although this was my first time being involved with the awards, I take my hat off to all the deserving winners and their families. I especially want to acknowledge the recipient of our award Miss Sela Maka from Lotoha'apai Ha'ateiho in Tonga who is in her final year at Massey University studying a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours.

Sela, who is studying here under the NZ Aid scholarship is well on her way to becoming a regional leader and we are proud to invest in her aspirations and develop her leadership capabilities.

Pacific Futures conference

For the first time, we will be partnering with the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs (NZIIA) to host the Pacific Futures conference, looking at how the Pacific region is influencing geostrategy programmes in countries such as New Zealand with the ‘Pacific reset’ and Australia with ‘Pacific step-up’.

A big focus on the conference will be on Pacific youth who are generating new models of leadership and new business opportunities and a raft of ways to assist their own countries to develop.

We appreciate NZIIA for their confidence in us and we look forward to bringing ‘Pacific Futures’ to life. To register your attendance and to view our programme, please click on the image below.

Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu

August was also the month where the world turned its attention to Tuvalu who hosted the 50th Pacific Islands Forum Meeting. I’d like to acknowledge our Chair Nicole Metzger who attended the Private Sector Dialogue session on behalf of PCF. Nicole is an exceptional business leader who has a proven track record of doing business in the Pacific through her produce company South Seas Export. Therefore, her presence and expertise provided much value to the private sector discussions.

(Image: Nicole standing far right) The Private Sector Dialogue outcome is now available to access. Click here to view.

NZFBC/FNZBC joint conference

As part of our strategic pillar of regional business engagement, PCF supported the New Zealand Fiji Business Council and Fiji New Zealand Business Council annual joint conference. The theme for this year, ‘Towards Two Billion trading relationships’ referenced New Zealand and Fiji’s vibrant economic relationship. Two-way trade between New Zealand and Fiji is about $1 billion and there are no signs of slowing down.

This was reiterated by Fiji’s Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism Hon. Premila Kumar who stated,

“We recognise the growing strength of this New Zealand-Fiji relationship. Our partnership is stronger than ever before, as the Fijian Government is committed to re-engaging and re-defining our bilateral relationship”.

Hon. Kumar also highlighted a number of key reforms currently being undertaken by the Fijian Government in its efforts to improve the quality and efficiency of service delivery. This includes the centralised bizFIJI portal, that provides businesses information on starting a business and obtaining construction permits.

The joint conference covered interactive sessions on Business Environment, Risk Management, Global Market Shift and Sustainability.

It was a privilege to facilitate the Sustainability session and I want to acknowledge the speakers, Mr. Patrick Brockie, Director of Infrastructure New Zealand – (who was also present at the Pacific Island Forum Economic Ministers Meeting, Suva), Dr. Shaw Mead, Managing Director of eCoast Consulting & Research and Ms. Jodi Smith, Director of The Earth Care Agency for their insightful presentations.

A big mālō aupito to Mr. Chandar Sen, President of the New Zealand Fiji Business Council (NZFBC) and Mr. Vinay Narsey, President of the Fiji New Zealand Business Council (FNZBC) for giving PCF an opportunity to be involved.

Global Indigenous Trade Symposium

Our Iwi Pacific economic partnership strategy continues to gain traction, and this was evident when PCF were invited to attend the Global Indigenous Trade Symposium by Ngāti Kahungunu Chair Ngahiwi Tomoana.

The symposium was part of a two-day National Iwi Chairs Forum (NICF). The NICF was established at a request by Dame Te Atairangikaahu to Tā Mark Solomon at the time to explore synergies amongst the tribes for greater cultural, social, economic and political opportunities

I was accompanied by Rachel Petero of Te Ohu Whai Ao Trust. In my presentation I spoke about our Māori Pacific Business Forum and the partnership opportunities for Māori economy to trade and do business direct with Pacific resource owners.

Also present at the symposium was Minister for Pacific Peoples Mr. Aupito Su’a William Sio, Minister of Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta and Indonesian Ambassador to New Zealand, Tonga and Samoa H.E. Tantowi Yahya.

Mr. Yahya is a fine representative for Indonesia, who during his presentation, encouraged Māori businesses and Iwi to trade and do direct business with Indonesia noting that the country has a population of 266 million and a GDP of $1.3 Trillion.

As a result of attending the symposium, we have set up trade and business talks direct with Iwi and Māori businesses with Pacific Resource owners for the coming year ahead.

PCBL expands its horizons

It is with great pleasure that I congratulate the Pacific Cooperation Broadcasting Limited (PCBL) board and team on their expansion and launch of their Pasifika TV service. In 2015, PCBL was established and was funded by MFAT and PCF with the overall aim to build stronger relationships in the Pacific region by supporting the media sector.

We are proud to see PCBL strengthen and grow over the years with PCBL Chairman Gary Monk and PCBL Chief Executive Natasha Meleisea at the helm.

Georgina Roberts

As mentioned earlier, with new opportunities comes new directions and so I take this opportunity to acknowledge Georgina Roberts who has been appointed as New Zealand’s next High Commissioner to Solomon Islands.

Georgina, currently the Director of MFAT’s Pacific Connections is no stranger to PCF. She has served our board for the past year and we appreciate her guidance and advice that has steered us well.

Sabrina Tian

Last, but certainly not least it is with sadness that I announce that Sabrina Tian will be leaving PCF.

Sabrina has been an integral part of PCF for the past five years, initially serving the organisation as the Programme Administrator then as Executive Manager. During her tenure, Sabrina has seen PCF evolve and change and she should be proud of her contribution of which there are many.

Fa’afetai lava, vinaka vaka levu and ‘mālō aupito Sabrina for all your efforts and service to PCF, we wish you all the very best with your next endeavours – you will always be a part of our PCF whanau.

Arohanui atu ki a koutou katoa,

Don Mann