Few Kiwis know that New Caledonia is less than a three-hour flight from Auckland, says Vanessa Tjemplon, Sales Executive of Aircalin, New Caledonia’s international airline.

Alban Goullett-Allard, Director of New Caledonia Trade & Invest at the New Caledonia stand.

But New Caledonia is New Zealand’s closest neighbour, she said. It was a key message from the airline during a joint promotion by Aircalin, New Caledonia Tourism and New Caledonia Trade & Invest at the Auckland Food Show last weekend. New Caledonia had a significant presence at the show running a popular promotion to get show visitors interested in the country as a destination and its wide range of products.

The stand represented more than 100 New Caledonian food and beverage companies and promoted the airline and country as a destination.

Ms Tjemplon said traveller numbers to New Caledonia were up compared with June last year. They were at the Auckland Food Show to keep the momentum going with proactive direct advertising to the public.  Ms Tjemplon said she was focusing on industry training, advertising and digital promotions to get the message out.

“People don’t realise how close they destination is.  They’re really surprised to hear New Caledonia is just 2.5 hours away,” she said.  “We’re New Zealand’s closest neighbours,” Ms Tjemplon said. Aircalin has 5 flights a week.

Alban Goullett-Allard, shows one of New Caledonia’s premium food products.

Alban Goullett-Allard, Director of New Caledonia Trade & Invest (NCTI), was very pleased with the crowd response at the Auckland Food Show. He described NCTI as an association of private enterprises Private association to facilitate exports from New Caledonia.

Speaking of his experience at the Auckland Food Show he said, “For New Caledonia, it’s been a very good experience.  It’s been amazing, the crowd, the feedback from the people, we are very pleased.” He said NCTI’s participation was through an ongoing special agreement with New Caledonia Tourism to promote its companies and their exports.

Their main aim was to raise awareness of New Caledonia as a country destination but to also promote their wide range of products and learn more about the demand from New Zealand consumers.

He said that though as the nodal export and investment promotion agency of New Caledonia, NCTI had attended several business events and seminars in New Zealand, this was the first opportunity that it had for direct interaction in a “B to C” [business-to-consumer] environment.

“There is a need for Kiwi people to know of New Caledonia’s products, its quality and pricing. And it is also important for New Caledonian companies to know about Kiwi customer preferences,” he said.

Products promoted during the show included an extensive range of chocolates from the Lapita brand, jams, chutneys and relishes, vanilla, water, juices, tuna, duck fat, besides others. The products ranged from the very high end, exclusive products to more readily accessible supermarket brands.

The high-end products were preferred by some of the world’s most well-known chefs in Paris and Tokyo, Mr Goullet-Allard said.

Dr Yves Lafoy, Official Representative of New Caledonia to New Zealand said they had received a very good response from attending the Auckland Food Show. They were keen to raise the awareness of New Caledonia with the New Zealand public.

Mr Goullet-Allard said New Caledonia is a gateway to the European market and also a recent member of the Pacific Islands Forum. “This potentially opens many doors in Europe for New Zealand and Pacific Island companies,” he added.

For more information please email Ian Furlong, PTI NZ Trade Development Manager at ian.f@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz

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