Fruit fly scare puts off expo


The Queensland fruit fly infestation in Auckland claimed another victim – the inaugural Pasifika/ Asia/ NZ (PANZ) 2015 Business Expo has been forced to postpone until 2016.<!--more-->

[caption id="attachment_2928" align="alignleft" width="138"]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-2928" alt="The venue for the Pasifika Festival has changed because of a biosecurity measure." src="" width="138" height="104" /></a> The venue for the Pasifika Festival has changed because of a biosecurity measure.[/caption]

The expo was scheduled to run at Western Springs Stadium, beside Auckland’s iconic annual Pasifika Festival at Western Springs Park. The 23rd Pasifika Festival from 13<sup>th</sup>-15 March attracts over 1000 performers and hosts 300 stalls across 11 villages. With over 100,000 visitors, it is billed as the largest Pacific festival in the world.

But the discovery of the Queensland fruit fly in the nearby suburb of Grey Lynn forced the relocation of the Pasifika Festival to Hayman Park in Manukau, South of Auckland. However, the move raised too many unknowns for PANZ Expo organisers.

Stan Wolfgramm of Drum Productions had teamed up with entrepreneurs Sean Rota, Julie Smith, Rachel Afeaki-Taumoepeau and Lui Tusani to create the PANZ Expo alongside the largest Pacific festival in the world.

But they had sat down and consulted with all stakeholders and decided it was better to postpone the Expo until next year rather than go ahead with a lot of unknowns at the new location if they had followed. “There were too many variables…we could go ahead but we wouldn’t know what we were producing, we would be going ahead a bit blind,” Mr Wolfgramm said.

The original venue at Western Springs Stadium was perfect, he said. Partners included Ponsonby Rugby Club, the Parliamentary team for the celebrity rugby match, Fiji and Pacific Business communities, Pacific Business Trust, the US Embassy and other corporate speakers.

Although stakeholders had been disappointed they were thankful for their efforts and fully supportive for next year.

Organising the Expo was not just an event “… you have to win support and you have to give a return on investment. Our stakeholders are our first priority and we made a promise to deliver the best for them. We know we can’t do this with the changes so even though it’s not what we wanted, we listened and collectively decided to cancel,” he said.

Although the event had cost him a “…small bit financially”, PANZ was an investment.  They had ticked off a lot of things and he now has a winning formula.  “We very happy to have great supporters who really do understand the potential of Pasifika business and all are looking forward to PANZ Business Expo 2016.”

Plans for the rest of the year included the creation of a new business incubator being piloted in Rarotonga within the next 6-8 months. The centre will focus on locally produced products from small to medium enterprises.  Partners include the Chambers of Commerce and Women’s collectives. It’s a template that can be transferred throughout the rest of the Pacific he says.

He was busy putting together a Pacific inspired Italian fashion range under the Style Pasifika Brand in Italy. In collaboration with a top fashion house independent Italian designer who has worked with Versace and Dolce &amp; Gabbana. The collection is expected to be launched in Italy around September in time for the summer release.