20 Nov 2019
Bula Vinaka, Halo Olketa, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Fakatalofa atu, Kia orana, Mālō e lelei, Mālō ni, Talofa lava, and warm Pacific greetings to you all.
In January I was appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer for the Pacific Cooperation Foundation.
I was fortunate to inherit an updated strategy that had undergone a refresh prior to my commencement. I acknowledge the work of the previous CEO Craig Strong and the Board of Trustees in providing a stable platform to take the organisation forward. Our vision is simple - to promote connected, informed and enabled communities in the Pacific region.
Our mission (increasing cooperation and understanding amongst peoples of the Pacific region to bring enduring economic, social and cultural benefits) strongly supports the principles of the Pacific Reset - understanding, friendship, mutual benefit, collective ambition and sustainability.
Each of our four strategic pillars are specifically designed for Pacific Cooperation Foundation to play a valuable role in contributing towards a stable, prosperous and resilient Pacific whilst enhancing New Zealand's identity as a Pacific nation. The Digital Workshop under our Capacity Building pillar was deliberately held in Rarotonga on two fronts. First, in recognition of the Cook Islands status as a Realm County of New Zealand and second to coincide with the imminent laying of the Manatua fibre-optic cable.
Digital resilience is largely reliant on inclusive connectivity, availability of connections and increased capability. By focusing on capacity building especially amongst youth and women in business, Pacific Cooperation Foundation is making a significant contribution in developing a resilient future workforce.
Pacific Cooperation Foundation's positioning as a trusted, independent non-government organisation was critical in our successful delivery of the inaugural Māori and Pacific Business Forum at Ngaaruawaahia in partnership with Te Ohu Whai Ao Trust and Waikato Tainui College for Research and Development.
Resource owners from eight Pacific Island Countries heard and saw current best-practice from organisations prosperity within our considerable Māori economy. This included a first-hand tour of Tainui Group Holding Assests and an overview of their diversified investment portfolio.
Indigenous resource owners from the Pacific region are all at different stages of their journey towards economic self-determination. Resource owners unanimously called for the Pacific Cooperation Foundation to continue this valued, strategic brokering role. Furthermore, our leadership of the Māori Pacific Business Forum resulted in an invitation from Ngāti Kahungunu Chair Ngahiwi Tomoana for Pacific Cooperation Foundation to front a presentation at their national Global Māori Trade Symposium.
Two further interventions during the year stand out as examples of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation's ability to proactively collaborate for mutual benefit. Our partnership with Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to deliver the August 2018 Business Harmonisation Conference in Auckland followed by our role in shaping the Private Sector Dialogue statement at the Forum Economic Ministers' meeting in Suva in May 2019.
These situations require a level of skill, knowledge and expertise to simultaneously engage with the private sector, NGOs, multilateral and government organisations. On both occasions Pacific Cooperation Foundation's contribution resulted in positive outcomes.
There are over thirty NZ organisations active in the region. We will continue to actively partner, deliver value for money, inform, connect and enable to achieve our mission of delivering economic, social and cultural benefits to communities of the Pacific region.
I would like to thank and acknowledge the following who have the contributed to the success of Pacific Cooperation Foundation during 2018/2019:
The Pacific Division team at MFAT in Wellington and Auckland, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Pacific Heads of Mission based in New Zealand, all of our partners and host agencies who have supported our initiatives and all Pacific-facing Business Councils and networks based in New Zealand.
Last but certainly not least, thank you to Pacific Cooperation Board of Trustees and staff for supporting me in my role as Chief Executive Officer and for putting your hearts into serving the Pacific region.
Ngā mihi & Mālō aupito,
To access and read our full annual report click here.
To read the Chair's Report click here.