Six Samoan companies are looking to take Kiwis by storm at Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand’s one-day Path to the Pacific showcase on Auckland’s waterfront on Saturday 6 April. Samoa’s main Economic Development Agency (EDA), Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters (SAME) is leading the companies at the Auckland show. Pacific Periscope is profiling the participating companies in this edition.
Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand has had a longstanding relationship with SAME, which was established way back in 1981 to help the Samoan private sector to collectively represent itself to the Samoan government as well as help its members with information and skills to run businesses effectively in order to achieve success both in the domestic and export markets.
In more recent years, SAME has worked closely with PTI NZ on the Path to Market programme as its main in-country Economic Development Authority (EDA) partner. The most recent Path to Market workshop was held in Apia in September 2018, which more than a dozen private sector companies attended.
Pacific Periscope spoke with SAME’s Adviser Colin Stringer on the Samoan delegation’s participation in the Path to Market programme and particularly on the forthcoming one-day Path to the Pacific Trade Show in Auckland on April 6:
What are your thoughts on Samoan companies’ participation?
Path to Market provides an important opportunity for companies from Samoa to be able to gain an increased understanding of the New Zealand market for their goods as well as develop and build networks in this very important market for Samoan goods. New Zealand currently receives approximately 18 per cent of Samoan exports. With growing Pacific Island diaspora particularly in Auckland, it is vital the Samoan businesses and exporters continue to build awareness of the ‘Samoa Made’ brand. Samoan exports are growing steadily including increasing diversity of both products and markets. It is blessed with a climate that is not seasonal — so in terms of supply it is able to meet demand all year round rather than for limited seasons. The combination of quality plus year-round supply has been material in the growth of Samoan exports.
As Samoa’s EDA that has worked together with PTI NZ, what is SAME’s experience with the Path to Market programme for Samoan exporters?
PTI NZ’s Path to Market programme has been greatly instrumental in building the knowledge and general understanding of the requirements to be a successful exporter and to also strengthen capacity of those attending to be able to undertake export market initiatives. Samoa remains a small country with a limited range of export products. Many of the companies participating have little or no experience of exporting so the combination of firstly having the opportunity to learn the basic requirements of the New Zealand market and to then be able to participate in an actual PTI event enables them to gain practical experience of the lessons learnt from the workshops. The subsequent ancillary events such as the business-to-business contacts ensures they have an ongoing ability to build business networks in New Zealand.
What are currently trending products that Samoa is looking to do well in the NZ market?
The products that are currently trending in terms of potential for Samoa Made products are those that support a growing emphasis on healthy living including products that have been acknowledged to support general wellbeing as well as some specific attributes that can have positive impact on health. These relate to such products as turmeric and skincare-related products. Currently, the export of Noni products has risen sharply, and this is related to the perceived quality of Samoan agricultural products. Samoan designs in jewellery are also gaining interest from buyers looking for distinctive and uniqueness. These are the characteristics that buyers are looking for. In addition, the Samoan garment and handicraft products are continuing to build awareness globally for their unique and diversity of designs. As a small nation Samoa is gaining a reputation internationally as increasing number of its fashion designers are displaying at international fashion and art festivals. Buyers looking for something different will often be found wearing Samoan fashions. The increase in online marketing is enabling Samoan fashion to be work increasingly at international events.
What outcomes is SAME expecting for Samoan companies from the Auckland experience?
In terms of outcomes from such events, it is obviously to achieve a greater market presence for its various goods and services, and to develop or build on networks in the New Zealand market. To do this they will need to obtain a detailed understanding of buyers’ requirements and in particular the need for quality and consistency if they are to secure long-term contracts. Where agriculture-based products are concerned to have detailed understanding of the bio security issues for import of such goods. In this regard the importance of international standards of certification as well as proper labelling that meets international standards is increasingly important for Samoan exporters.
Path to Market is PTI NZ’s structured multi-stage programme that helps Pacific Island exporters and potential exporters understand the New Zealand market. The programme includes an important one-day showcase at The Cloud on Saturday, 6 April. Businesses will practice learnings acquired during the Path to Market programme; checking consumer responses to labelling and packaging and adjusting their sales pitch to their target audience.