Emerging Pacific Island leaders put theory into practice

(Picture caption: Pacific Trade Invest New Zealand’s current interns.)

Each year Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand offers three exceptional students the chance to gain real world experience by participating in a three-month internship.

Acting Trade Commissioner Glynis Miller says the internship offers real-life on-the-job training in the three areas covered by PTI NZ: communications, investment, and trade.

 “There’s no better way to build understanding of the business enabling environment across the Blue Pacific continent than to work with PTI NZ,” Glynis says.

“We develop and grow investment and exports between New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

“We are a small team but very passionate about what we do, and because we are passionate, we want others to be as well.

“Building the capacity of our young leaders through an internship programme just makes sense.

 “We are pleased to have been able to team up with the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in order to continue our programme with three excellent young Pacific future leaders,” she says.

The interns will be tasked with carrying out research projects in their specific fields including the areas of trade show planning and execution; industry research and analysis; marketing communication strategy and delivery; and investment research and profiling.

Get to know our interns

Trade Intern – Chanel Samaratunga  

Of Sri Lankan descent, Chanel grew up as a Kiwi, immersed in Pasifika culture from a young age through high school.

This multi-culturalism instilled in Chanel an understanding of why it is important to understand, acknowledge and promote differing cultures.

Chanel is studying for her Bachelor of Business (International Business, Marketing and Supply Chain Management) and says it is this multi-cultural upbringing which instilled in her the firm opinion that it is crucial for future business to understand, acknowledge and promote the differences in doing business with multiple cultures.

Chanel comments that trade links between New Zealand and other Pacific nations have always been strong, but looking at the state of the world right now we have an absolute moment here where we can really level up the exposure that SMEs in the Blue Region can get.

“There is intrinsic value for all countries involved to develop strong, lasting relationships through which we can promote trade opportunities in the region.

“I’m certainly going to take this opportunity use apply my theoretical knowledge of international business to the projects I will be working on during the internship.

“By the end I want to have furthered my knowledge of the Pacific Islands and grown my business network,” she says.

Investment Intern – Patrick Nettlingham

Originally from Tauranga, Patrick moved to Auckland in 2018 to pursue his interest in the New Zealand economy by studying a Bachelor of Business (Economics and Marketing) at AUT.

Patrick connects with Ngāi Tahu (on his mother’s side) and this link sparked his interest in the current business landscape of Māori and Pacific communities, their opportunities, and potential risks.

“What I have learnt and taken in so far through uni is in the past, investors headed for the big companies, the big countries – they felt like they would yield higher returns,” he says.

“I believe there has there been a shift-change over the last decade since the GFC – we’re seeing how smaller businesses are huge contributors to economic stability in the island nations.”

Patrick envisages great opportunity for investment in the region, he adds.

“There is a heap of businesses that would benefit hugely from investment – and the flow on effect for that entire country is immense.

“This internship is important for me as I believe in the power of great research and having the data to back up what PTI NZ is saying, ‘that the Pacific is the best place to invest’.

“I hope to walk away from this internship with a deep knowledge about the inner workings of these economies.

“To me, investing in the Pacific is the smart way forward.”

Communications Intern – Dominique Koloamatangi

Half Samoan on her mother’s side and half Tongan on her father’s Dominique lives and breathes her Pacific heritage.

As a first-generation New Zealander, and in her final year of study, she was thrilled to see the PTI NZ internship being offered to AUT students.

Dominique says Auckland is largest Pacific city – it’s a melting pot of all the different islands – and while she was born in Auckland, she still feels a part of the Pacific region.

“I feel we have a responsibility to ensure that all countries in the Blue Pacific do well.”

Dominique is studying a Bachelor of Business (Management) and Bachelor of Communication Studies (Public Relations) and she believes this is the perfect mix to be able to understand the economics of trade and investment with other PICs, as well as being able to translate that into great communications, to show how amazing the opportunities are.

“As Patrick mentioned, in the past people have either invested, or bought products from larger companies or countries.

“A lot of this product is not created sustainably, is manufactured in huge factories and contributes negatively to climate change.

“When you buy or invest in the Pacific Islands you are not just investing in a company where you will end up being simply a name on a tax form – you really get to see the difference your money gets to make,” she says.

Dominique says it is an opportunity for people running their businesses to look after their own interests, bring money back into the country, and of course, to share their amazing products with New Zealand and the rest of the world.

“It’s uplifting and rewarding to know PTI NZ provides the support for SME businesses to be able to get their product into the New Zealand market.

“I’m thrilled to be able to be a part of it and I know I’m going to learn so much about the different ways New Zealand works with PICs to promote trade and investment.”

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