Apete Returns to his Roots


It was really a pleasure to visit a long-time friend and business mentor at his dream-come-true project in one of Samoa’s most beautiful locations.<!--more-->

Before he ended his term as Samoa’s Trade Commissioner in New Zealand in 2009, Apete Meredith mentioned to me that he wanted to accomplish what his late father’s dream that had been bequeathed to him – to develop a business around the property that was so close to his heart.

Although he had some good job offers in Auckland, he opted to return to his homeland and bring his father’s dream to reality. Just like any other good businessman, he went to the drawing board and involved family members to discuss the best business opportunity that would give them a good return, provide employment and make a difference in the country’s economy.

Apete, who was one of the business advisers of the <strong>Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest</strong> (<b>PT&amp;I</b>) Return to Roots Mission to Samoa in 2007, has a keen understanding of international trade, business and tourism. He put his knowledge and experience to use and with his supportive family and a band of local shareholders ventured into the resort business to build the magnificent ’Aga Reef Resort.

It has 16 rooms – 8 ocean view hotel rooms, 4 waterfront villas, 3 island villas and 1 VIP villa. All rooms and villas are air-conditioned and self contained. One of the main attractions is the under-water coral lagoon. It employs 40 locals to look after the resort.

It started off as a vision by his late father who wanted to establish a development in their mother’s village. However, the family decided to build a high end development to give respect to the extent of work that his father had invested in the project. Besides, the opportunity existed for investment in tourism projects in Samoa, with the government providing assistance.

I visited the ’Aga Reef Resort a few months ago and was amazed to experience the warm professional staff, state-of-the-art resort facility, breath-taking landscape and excellent infrastructure, and other great amenities including wireless internet. And the food at was the best we had in Samoa – absolutely divine.

I had a good chat with old friend Apete, now Managing Director of ’Aga Reef Resort. We looked back and reminisced the time of their brainstorming session on the Return to Roots Mission to Samoa and Tonga in 2007.

Apete was one of the architects of the mission and invited a number of Samoan businessmen settled in New Zealand to join the delegation. He didn’t only bring in NZ-based Samoan investors but also participated actively in the groundwork preparation in Samoa. He organised and coordinated with top government officials and seasoned local businessmen to meet and mingle with the New Zealand delegation.

It is worth noting that among the 8 businessmen who participated in the mission, 4 businesspeople from Samoa and Tonga invested back to their home countries.  Apete’s ’Aga Reef Resort is one of the best inward investment projects of the Return to Roots Mission. Due to its successful outcomes, <b>PT&amp;I</b> organised a series of Return to Roots Missions to Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Niue, and Fiji.

Words are not enough to describe my gratitude to Apete Meredith for his invaluable support to <b>PT&amp;I</b>’s first-ever Return to Roots Mission to Samoa and Tonga in 2007.  Thank you again, Apete. I really enjoyed my short visit to the resort and all I can say is, “the ’Aga Resort took my breath away.”

<i>By Manuel Valdez, Head of Investments and Acting Trade Commissioner, PT&amp;I (NZ)</i>