Tongan exporters hail Path to Market workshop

Thirty-five delegates from Tongan companies who participated in the Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand Path to Market workshop have said the workshop added to their knowledge and skills as manufacturers and exporters. PTI NZ conducted the workshop in the country’s capital Nuku’alofa on October 26.

Path to Market is a programme that aims to build export capability in export ready Pacific Island businesses. It combines PTI’s range of export facilitation services and expertise to help these businesses enter new export markets. The workshop was opened by Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, Minister of Commerce, Consumer, Trade, Innovation and Labour.

Path to Market participants receiving their certificates from PTI NZ’s Joe Fuavao.

The content of the Path to Market workshops is specifically targeted at existing and new exporters giving further insights and overviews of getting products to market. Most of the companies that participated were from the fresh foods sector, which is one of Tonga’s biggest export segments. Participating businesses ranged from those that were already exporting to New Zealand to those that were starting out. Workshop sessions on supply chain management; knowing the customer and their buying habits; costing and pricing strategies; packaging design and mandatory information; brand positioning; projecting the unique selling proposition; developing and telling the company’s story and the ground realities of the New Zealand wholesale and retail market as also compliance requirements all added to their knowledge and skills base, participants indicated in their feedback forms at the end of the workshop.

PTI NZ Trade Development Manager Joe Fuavao and Marketing, Communications & Research Manager Dev Nadkarni, who is also the editor of Pacific Periscope, conducted the workshop.

PTI NZ’s Dev Nadkarni presenting at the workshop.

Mr Nadkarni said the creative modules in the workshop like storytelling and brand positioning encouraged participants to put on their creative hats and develop impromptu story lines for their products and companies, which they could further refine later. “It seems to have set them on the track to think creatively to impart some individuality to their products by assigning them unique attributes,” he said.

Participants at the Path to Market workshop in Tonga.

Like October last year when PTI held Tonga’s first Path to Market workshop that 18 companies attended, this year too, PTI partnered with the Tongan Government’s Ministry of Commerce, Consumer, Trade, Innovation and Labour (MCCTIL) to deliver the workshop.

The in-country economic development agency (EDA) is an important partner in the Path to Market programme. “The programme delivers a structured approach to understanding and entering the New Zealand market. Important to this process has been our partnership with the local economic development agency who are involved in each step of the process,” says PTI NZ Trade & Investment Commissioner Michael Greenslade.

Attending the workshop is the first step in multiple steps in the Path to Market programme that leads to a sales mission to New Zealand. The steps are: Home based capability building – a one-day workshop in the host country (which was held in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, in this case); Building a strong strategic link to local economic development partner (MCCTIL in the case of Tonga); Potential to be invited to be part of a trade mission to New Zealand (such as the Pasifika Festival in Auckland in March and/or other industry-specific trade shows); Identifying capability gaps and learnings from the mission; Introduction to New Zealand buyers and follow up and quantification of deals.

“We look forward to working with MCCTIL and helping these businesses with their plans for export to New Zealand market,” Mr Fuavao said.

For more information please contact Joe Fuavao, Trade Development Manager on



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