Five companies from Tahiti and other islands of French Polynesia visited New Zealand as part of a trade mission organised by the Chamber of Commerce of French Polynesia from 24-27 October 2017. The delegation ranged from businesses that were relatively new companies to the more established.
French Polynesia is a recent full member Pacific Islands Forum. French Polynesia is considered an overseas country of France. It is composed of 118 islands and atolls divided into five groups including – the Society Islands, the Windward and Leeward Islands, the Tuamotu Archipelago, the Gambier Islands, the Marquesas and the Austral Islands. Tahiti, the most well-known and populous destination is in the Society Islands.
Pacific Periscope spoke with three of the five companies during their visit to the Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) offices in Auckland.
Nic Laugeon is the director of Tahiti Bio, a coconut oil production company that he has owned for the past four years. Mr Laugeon is an Electronics, Electrical and IT Engineer.
Mr Laugeon believes he has mastered the technique that allows him to produce high quality, organic, cold pressed coconut oil. In addition, his market research in Australia and USA proved to him there’s a market for his delicately flavoured coconut. The coconuts are shelled, peeled and dried in air-conditioned rooms and then put through the expeller. No heat is used in the process thus maintaining the flavour. Mr Laugeon says his market research of Australia and the US has made him confident he can charge above average prices for high quality oil with a deliciously nutty flavour. Mr Laugeon also announced he would be opening a new factory on his return to Tahiti.
The new factory will be state of the art in software and hardware. Ten people are employed in the factory that will be powered by renewable solar energy and biomass from the coconut shells. He plans to include dried fruit such as mangoes, papaya, breadfruit and guavas to his range in future.
Tevi Tahiti – Monoi
Tahiti’s Monoi coconut oil is renowned throughout the Pacific. Tevi Tahiti Director Jeremy Biau took over the company about four years ago. In that time, he has upgraded the product packaging and labelling breathing life into a product that has been around for many years and needed a makeover.
Monoi is the name used for Tahitian coconut oil made traditionally mixing tiare flowers with the oil.
Tevi Tahiti has put new labels on spray bottles and mini travel packs ideal for travellers and gifts. Its catalogue is a reminder of French Polynesia’s magnificent beaches, mountains and forests and could easily pass as a travel brochure. Mr Biau joined the trade mission keen to expand the market further afield as they are already well served in many stores throughout French Polynesia.
But Monoi coconut oil products must meet legal requirements set by the Government to carry the Monoi name. Mr Biau says his company Monoi Tevi Tahiti is certified by the French Government to sell Monoi coconut oil, similar to France’s champagne. The sale of Monoi is state controlled under strict laws to ensure its authenticity.
Tevi Tahiti’s tiare flowers are handpicked and soaked in the coconut oil – 10 flowers to every litre. Vitamin E is added along with the fragrance to complete the process. But the biggest and most exciting change is the new product lines in a catalogue that could double as a new travel brochure for Tahiti’s hot destinations!
The range includes Monoi Fruity, Traditional, Specific for Hair Care and mosquito repellent, Gauguin and cotton candy. There’s also a range of tanning and super tanning oils along with a ‘Monoi Man’ range. But Tevi Tamanu Oil it is that could be the rising star of the brand range.
The pure Tamanu Oil is an oil from the Tamanu or Ati tree used by the Tahitians for skin infections, burns or insect bites. Mr Biau is keen to sell his products through an online website and find more new markets.
PTI NZ plans to run a Path to Market workshop in Tahiti in 2018.
For more information please contact Ian Furlong, PTI NZ Trade Development Manager on email@example.com