Tongan baker takes a crack at NZ distribution for its products

Tonga’s well known Pacific Kingdom Cracker Biscuits was a first-time participant at the Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) NZ booth at the Auckland Food Show last week.

Kennedy Penitani at the Auckland Food Show’s PTI NZ Pacific Islands booth.

Kennedy Penitani represented the baking company at the show. Pacific Kingdom’s main product is cracker biscuits and these were sampled liberally throughout the show. The crackers are marketed under the brand ‘Anytime JMJ Crackers’.

“People have liked the distinctive taste of Pacific Kingdom Crackers and the feedback is very positive,” Mr Penitani told Pacific Periscope.

Pacific Kingdom Crackers is a division of Sitani Mafi Company. The company’s products are export ready but are not as of now exported and distributed in New Zealand. “We did sell our products at the show but we are also hoping to finalise arrangements for distribution in New Zealand,” Mr Penitani said.

The company is looking for distributors mainly for their two products – plain cracker biscuits and coconut cracker biscuits. The biscuits use fresh pure shredded coconuts.

Sitani Mafi Company is a family business. Based in the Tongan capital of Nuku’alofa, the company, which makes the crackers and many other products like bread, cakes and cookies for the Tongan market, employs 50 people, Mr Penitani said.

While products like biscuits and crackers are distributed across Tonga’s many islands, the Sitani Mafi Bakery sells freshly baked bread as well as its other products at its four outlets across Nuku’alofa.

Mr Penitani also exhibited his company’s products at the PTI NZ Path to the Pacific Expo at The Cloud in April and the Pacific Exposition hosted by the Indonesian government in Auckland last month. He is feeling encouraged by the response he received in both those events as well as the Auckland Food Show.

“We have the capacity to scale up and supply large quantities of crackers should we have orders for export to the New Zealand market,” Mr Penitani said. He was in talks with a few interested parties he met at the food show, he added.

The company is an alumnus of the PTI NZ Path to Market programme, a structured, multi-staged approach to helping Pacific exporters or potential exporters to understand the New Zealand market.

Local agencies identify prospective businesses to attend the in-country workshop. From there, businesses are selected to move on to the next step of the programme involving a trip to New Zealand to test market their products at events.

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

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