For the Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand team, the Pasifika Festival officially began early on the morning of Saturday March 25.
The team led by Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade was scheduled to accompany Auckland Supercity Mayor Phil Goff on his rounds of Western Springs, the sprawling and picturesque venue of the festival, as he visited each Pacific ‘village’.
As well as the PTI team, members of the Pacific Islands diplomatic corps and senior officials of the Economic Development Agencies of four island nations were also at the ready to join the Mayor’s entourage.
But while the PTI team and invited guests waited for Mayor Goff’s arrival, Prime Minister Bill English and his wife Mary arrived at Western Springs for his own tour of the island villages. Trade Commissioner Greenslade greeted the Prime Minister and introduced New Zealand’s first couple to members of the diplomatic corps — the High Commissioners of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands — and the PTI team.
Mr Greenslade also introduced the PTI entourage to Mayor Goff and spoke about PTI’s work and the participating Pacific Island companies from eight countries at Pasifika as part of the PTI Pacific Path to Market Programme. Mayor Goff visited several of the island villages at Pasifika and each time he greeted the crowds and addressed them, he graciously acknowledged PTI, the Pacific Island diplomatic corps and the visiting businesses.
Mayor Goff stopped by several of the Pacific Island businesses that displayed and sold products as part of the PTI Pacific Path to Market programme, striking brief conversations with the visiting businesspeople. He also posed for a photograph with PTI team members and members of the visiting island team in front of the stalls.
The Samoan delegation leader and President of the Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters Eddie Wilson sang and danced with Mayor Goff at the Samoan village, which incidentally, had the biggest performing stage and the biggest crowds, reflecting the large Samoan population in Auckland.
Papua New Guinea (PNG) High Commissioner Brigadier General (Retd) Francis Agwi said he was pleased to see such wholehearted participation by Aucklanders at the festival. PNG was represented by four companies and a senior official of the country’s lead Economic Development Agency.
Solomon Islands High Commissioner Mrs Joy Kere said she was pleased to see a good representation of Solomon Islands products as part of the Pacific Path to market programme.
Chairman of the PTI Advisory Board John Crawford also joined the entourage. Stewart Rom of Papua New Guinea’s Investment Promotion Authority said the scale of Pasifika festival surprised him. “It is a great event to showcase our products to the people of Auckland,” he told Pacific Periscope.
Commenting on getting together export businesses from eight countries in Auckland, Trade Commissioner Greenslade said, “As well as trade into New Zealand, it is really important for us to also focus on pan-Pacific trade. We will use this opportunity to engage with the representatives of the Economic Development Agencies to help create opportunities for increased trade between the islands themselves.”
For more information on the Pacific Path to Market programme please email Trade Development Manager Ian Furlong at firstname.lastname@example.org