Pacific businesses urged to boost Pasifika participation in economy


<p style="text-align: justify;">Successful businesspersons of Pacific origin have been urged to help more Pasifika people participate with greater involvement in the New Zealand economy. Eminent speakers of Pacific origin made the call to a roomful of successful Pacific businesspeople and professionals at last week’s Pacific Leaders’ Dinner at the University of Auckland.<!--more--></p>

[caption id="attachment_5320" align="aligncenter" width="350"]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-5320" alt="PBTdinner-1" src="" width="350" height="250" /></a> Photo: Pacific business dinner hosted by the Pacific Business Trust (PBT).[/caption]
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<p style="text-align: justify;">Speaking at the Pacific Business Trust (PBT) hosted event, Hekia Parata, New Zealand’s Minister of Education and Pacific Island Affairs said she was encouraged to see prominent Pacific businesspeople come together to discuss how to increase Pacific participation in the New Zealand economy. “It’s important for networks like this to come together to share experiences and opportunities.” Ms Parata said.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The PBT, which has been a long-term provider of economic development services that includes business advisory and mentoring services for Pacific people in New Zealand, got together a number of high achievers of Pacific origin to share their thoughts on how increase Pasifika peoples’ participation in business and encourage entrepreneurship.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">One of the evening’s highlights was recognizing and honouring the impressive achievements of Adrian Orr, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Superfund. Incidentally, Mr Orr was the 2001 Pacific Business Person of the Year at the Pacific Business Awards, which is also hosted by the PBT.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Mr Orr, a prominent economist, who has held senior positions in New Zealand’s financial industry and who is of Cook Islands heritage said, “Let’s see if we can work together, put some capital together and see if we can grow some of the great ideas from businesses that are in this room.”</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Guest speaker Toeolesulusulu Damon Salesa, Associate Professor of Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland urged Pacific businesses to play their part in helping New Zealand’s young Pacific population reach their potential.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">He said the technology revolution that is sweeping classrooms across New Zealand brought a semblance of equal opportunity across the board in terms of learning devices and software. How this was leveraged to the advantage of Pasifika students was critical, he said.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Guests enjoyed a sumptuous meal with Pacific influences prepared by John Oyagawa and his team as well as a range of entertainment by ‘aQstick Soul’, a Cook Island dance by Miss Cook Island, Joyana Meyer (also a University of Auckland Engineering graduate), and harpist Wei-Ting Shyu of Chinese-Maori descent.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Pacific Island Trade &amp; Invest’s Teremoana (Mona) Mato, is a board member of the PBT.</p>
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