In past years, I have relied on a Christmas carol to build my Xmas message, but this year, I am going to refer to a concert I attended last Saturday night, with my wife and three daughters.

The band we saw was ‘Future Islands’ from New York and featured a lead singer, who according my girls – looked a bit like me – short, fat, middle aged and only slightly attractive!  But boy did he have energy and man could he sing!

Michael Greenslade

I had forgotten the feeling you get when you hear a new Band – the hope, the energy, the optimism, and being a concert, the whole feeling of being part a team.  ‘Future Islands’ delivered in buckets!

It came to me that those feelings mirrored the feelings I had had for 2017.

It has been a big year for PTI Auckland as we, for the third year, achieved all our KPI’s across the three areas we measure; Trade, Investment and Communications.

It is hard to highlight areas but our flagship program ‘Path to Market’ is now an established part of the Pacific’s Economic and Export platform.

12 Countries participated and over 300 SME’s attended our workshops in 17 venues!

Participation in New Zealand-based Tradeshows was highlighted by the Auckland Food Show where $580,000 of verified deals were done in the four days by the nine participating companies!

Investment results are also positive with over 50 of the first 70 Projects listed on Pacific Hub gaining investors in the first year.  We cannot claim 100% of those deals but we are an important part of the mix.  The updated Pacific Hub lists 60 new Investment Properties.

Pacific Periscope remains to our knowledge, the marketing vehicle with the biggest potential reach in this region when combined with our social media platforms; Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Google+.

Great results but this does not happen without a strong and committed team and I am very proud of our Auckland team who I believe are functioning at an increased level each year.

Our Region is diverse but there lots of opportunities and stories that stand out and as it is Xmas I want to mention a few:

    • The increased exports of betel Nut and the rise of the betel nut courier in Yap.
    • The Growth in Aqua Farming in Micronesia with developing niches around King Clams, Aquarium Fish andSoft Corals and the farming of Rabbitfish for the plate.
    • The increasing significance of Women led cooperatives around root crop growing which is particularly strong in rural PNG.
    • The movement towards sustainable and value-added timber in the Solomon Islands.
    • The successful grouping of chocolate, cocoa and coffee products across the Pacific but specifically in Melanesia and Vanuatu.
    • The continued development of niche products in Niue such as fresh herbs, vanilla, water and honey.
    • The awakening of the PNG agricultural sector.
    • The continuing growth of the Fiji Manufacturing sector with specific reference to Food and Agri Business.
    • The increasing control being exercised by the Tonga Government to bring order, value and a better return to the grower in the Agricultural Sector.
    • The increasing presence of Samoan root crops into the formal market in New Zealand.
    • The focus of SME’s on Export and movement up the Value Chain.

These are just a few,  but when we bring into the mix the increasing appetite for JV Investment in FIC’s, we can only but imagine how strong these sectors could be.

Investment in Infrastructure has changed the face of key Pacific cities like Port Moresby, Suva and Port Vila.

Our Strategic Plan around building Path to Market, Pacific Hub, our Partnership approach and our focus on TIPO Best Practice are paying off!!

Yep, lots to reflect on but as always, a lot of people are behind the scenes and they all require recognition and a thank you; our live partners, pets and children;  John Crawford and the Advisory Board members; Shiu, Glynis and the PIFS team; the team at MFAT; the Pacific Business Councils; the Pacific Heads of Mission; and our clients and Stakeholders including the International Trade Centre in Geneva.

My best wishes to you all for a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year AND if you are at a loose end, take your family to a Summer Concert! It is worth it!


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