Samoa Stationery and Books (SSAB)’s Sei Oriana Gift Store in Mangere Auckland is quickly becoming the go-to store to source Pacific made products.Tonga’s Kakala Polynesian Body Oil coconut products launched in-store in December last year. The scented oils range from Mango, Frangipani, Vanilla, Ylang, Hohokoi and Pure Unscented oil.
Kakala Polynesian Body Oil is distributed by Kenani Estate, a Tongan company owned by young business entrepreneur Jessica Afeaki. Ms Afeaki’s business was established in Nuku’alofa. A busy young mum of three with the most recent member to the family delivered in December.
Ms Afeaki was a past participant of the Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand Path to Market programme last year she was invited to be part of the highly successful Path to Market delegation to Auckland’s 2017 Pasifika Festival. The programme helps potential Pacific exporters better understand the New Zealand market. More than 300 participants have been through the programme to date.
PTI NZ Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade said he had been very impressed with Jessica’s work ethic since their first meeting at a Path to Market workshop in 2015. “She attended the Path to Market programme for Pasifika in March 2017 and she impressed then with her ability to both manage the stall and a number of young children she was also looking after at the time. We are not surprised that Jessica has been successful since visiting Pasifika and we look forward to engaging with her in one of our Alumni programmes in 2018.”
Ms Afeaki said, “Kakala Coconut Oil products have been growing in popularity in Tonga. The vision was to find a channel into the New Zealand Market.
“Pacific products made in the islands need somewhere to start and having the support and backing by PTI and retail outlets gives businesses an opportunity to work internationally.
“Having a place to sell our Tongan oil in Auckland is a big achievement for us. We are grateful to PTI NZ and Sei Oriana for making it happen,” Ms Afeaki added.
Sei Oriana Gift Store Managing Director Melissa Stanley Van Horn said they were contacted by the owners of Kakala Oil soon after the SSAB Auckland – Sei Oriana Gift Shop opened in 2016. The connection was possible through PTI NZ.
The feedback on Kakala’s body oils was “Overall – very positive. many are pleasantly surprised about its place of origin. A lot of our Tongan customers weren’t aware of the product and that it was even made in Tonga,” Ms Stanley-Van Horn said.
“Our CEO Fiti Leung Wai acknowledges that our unique position in the NZ Market is to help develop and expand markets for grass roots entrepreneurs and SME’s based in the Pacific Islands.
“Kakala products suits the Sei Oriana brand well and we are happy to offer the opportunity to assist in promoting the product to a wider audience with our customer base worldwide,” she said.
SSAB Auckland – Sei Oriana was established by Samoan business entrepreneur Fiti Leung Wai in 2016, the store celebrated it’s first anniversary in December 2017. PTI NZ has had a good relationship with Mrs Leung Wai prior to the establishment of her Auckland store.
“Getting products into the Sei Oriana Gift Shop is a simple process,” Ms Stanley said.
“Make contact with us via any communications means available, (by) Letter, Email (preferable) Phone, Facebook. A conversation needs to take place about what the product is and there are other factors to take into consideration, consumer demand, supply, quality, etc. The final decision and approval to stock any product sits with our CEO,” she said.
But Kakala Polynesian Body Oils could bring more new customers through Sei Oriana’s doors.
Following the Rio Olympics, overall demand for Tongan made coconut oil skyrocketed as the Tongan flag bearer Pita Nikolas Tautatofua stepped into the stadium, shirtless, skin soaked in coconut oil and images of him were beamed around the virtual universe.
Social media went wild. Those images alone spiked demand for all Tongan coconut oil and was good for the industry overall Ms Afeaki said in an earlier interview.
In addition, the Mate Ma Tonga Rugby League World Cup team phenomenon helped. Mate Ma Tonga performed magnificently to steam roll the Kiwis’ World Cup campaign and go through to the semi-finals against England. Billed as one of the greatest ends to a game – Mate Ma’a Tonga came from nil score in the last eight minutes to within two points of stealing an upset win. A huge wave of support surged from the Tongan communities all around the world, scenes rarely seen in New Zealand with MMT fever.
For Kalala Polynesian Body Oils having an outlet close to a very large and supportive Tongan community in a shop on a main arterial route to the Auckland Airport can only mean great things in future.
For more information email PTI NZ Trade Development Manager Joe Fuavao on firstname.lastname@example.org