Helping Pacific exporters find markets in New Zealand


<b>Helping Pacific exporters find markets in New Zealand</b>

Joe Fuavao is Trade Development Manager for the Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest (PT&amp;I) office in Auckland, New Zealand and has been with the organisation for seven years.  Joe connects export-ready and export-capable businesses from the Pacific Islands to buyers, and facilitates the promotion of Pacific Island products in the New Zealand market.


Joe likes<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-6857 alignleft" style="margin: 10px;" alt="PTI - Joe" src="" width="138" height="104" /></a> spending time with the company to gain a better understanding of their operations, products and export capability. “With these challenges, it is important to zero in on their key areas of need, identifying and prioritising them to tailor market entry programmes to suit their needs and the gap in the market,” he adds.

Joe’s best projects in 2014 were packaging development where he worked with New Zealand and Pacific manufacturers to develop packaging solutions for exporters. One project he enjoyed working on was the development of new packaging for a Christmas promotion campaign for an exporter of skincare products from Samoa. “The campaign was successful and generated positive feedback from the market. It helped create impact for the company in terms of increased brand awareness and sales.”

The development of a new retail brand and packaging for an agriculture exporter from Tonga was another project he found fulfilling to work on. The new brand infrastructure enabled the development of targeted strategies for the export side of the business, he says.

He considers strategic partnerships as being very important. “We have worked closely with several regional organisations and companies to make bigger strides in addressing key export challenges such as PHAMA (market access) and GS1 New Zealand (traceability),” he says. “Working closely with companies and adding value to their businesses is why I love working at <b>PT&amp;I</b>.” Joe would like to develop more market opportunities for Pacific Island exports this year.

Of Tongan and Samoan heritage, Joe was born in the United States of America and grew up in Fiji, New Caledonia and Samoa before migrating to New Zealand. He holds Bachelor of Commerce and Master of International Business degrees from the University of Auckland. “My interests in international business and trade policy attracted me to  <b>PT&amp;I</b>. It was a great opportunity to put theory to practice,” he says.

After graduating from the University of Auckland, Joe started working at <b>PT&amp;I</b> as an intern in the trade division. Since then he has worked across different programmes including export facilitation and promotion, market research, stakeholder reporting and CRM management for the Auckland office.

What does he like about working with <b>PT&amp;I</b>? “I like the diverse nature of the role - <b>PT&amp;I</b> provides the opportunity to work with a diverse range of companies and the business people who are passionate about growing their country’s economy.

“I enjoy the collaboration programmes with the other <b>PT&amp;I</b> offices. A prime example of this was the Pacific Path to Market Workshops in Fiji, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea last year. It was a good platform for building export capable businesses through sharing our knowledge of our respective export markets and the development of partnerships with national export facilitation agencies.

Joe has identified some of the challenges that Pacific Island exporters face and is keen to help them overcome these hurdles. “There is growing competition from low cost suppliers from traditional markets for the Pacific Islands. For example, Vietnam now exports frozen cassava to New Zealand,” he says.

Pacific Island companies can face up to these challenges by “Developing a better understanding of the company and its export capability as well as the establishment of strategic partnerships has helped Pacific exporters improve their export competitiveness. Building relationships are important,” Joe says.

In his spare time, Joe likes reading and watching rugby and boxing.

©2018 by Pacific Trade Invest