Northland businesspeople keenly eyeing Pacific opportunities


A number of businesspeople from New Zealand’s Northland with whom Pacific Trade &amp; Invest (PT&amp;I) met recently have expressed a strong desire to explore opportunities in the Pacific Islands.<!--more-->

[caption id="attachment_6906" align="alignleft" width="138"]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-6906" alt="PT&amp;I Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade (seated at right) and Ambassador Shane Jones at a meeting with Northland businesspeople." src="" width="138" height="104" /></a> PT&amp;I Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade (seated at right) and Ambassador Shane Jones at a meeting with Northland businesspeople.[/caption]

New Zealand’s Economic Ambassador to the Pacific, Shane Jones, facilitated a series of meetings between three Northland business groups and PT&amp;I on the eve of the Waitangi Day observances in Kerikeri, Northland.

Leading Northland business identity and philanthropist Ken Rintoul and Kaikohe-Hokianga Councillor John Vujcich, who have both worked long years promoting and supporting the local economy say because of Northland’s many similarities with Pacific Island environments, there is much that Northland can share in terms of expertise and experience both in developing business skills and building human capacity.

Mr Rintoul, who has been at the forefront of developing the rural fire service in Northland says a programme for fire and disaster training for Pacific islanders could quite easily be put in place. “It’s a matter of coordination,” Mr Rintoul said. “There are donors with second hand fire appliances, who are keen to donate these machines for purposes of training. Government funding can be tapped, too.” Mr Vujcich, who has worked previously with the Vanuatu beef industry, said he had experience in dealing with biosecurity – a major element in produce exports from the Pacific. Among the many ideas that could be explored were processing fruit for the ice cream and frozen snack industry, he said.

Locnet Works’ Peter Barry has worked to combine sports fishing and networked technology to produce products and services that help deliver immersive real time experiences for people fishing. The technology enables people from all over the world to log on to a website to watch their mates fish in real time no matter where they may be in the world. Mr Barry sees major applications for the services in the Pacific Islands tourism industry where sport fishing is growing by leaps and bounds.  His company has received venture funding and is in the process of conducting live trials in several locations.

John Braine and Graeme Bunting have come up with extremely innovative cost-effective housing solutions, which they say make great practical sense in the Pacific Islands region. Involving relatively simple but innovative techniques, the shell s for their modular houses can theoretically put together and erected in a single day, almost all of it from locally sourced materials. With affordable mass housing becoming an important programme for several developing country Governments around the world including countries like Papua New Guinea in the Pacific, this technique is a viable alternative says Mr Braine, who has already built a number of such homes in Northland.

“In the coming months, PT&amp;I will be following up closely with these business people and working on opportunities for working together with the islands on suitable projects,” PT&amp;I NZ Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade said. Marketing &amp; Communications Manager Dev Nadkarni  also attended the meetings, which were coordinated and presided over by Ambassador Shane Jones.