Vanuatu Member of Parliament for Tanna Hon. Johnny Koanapo Rasou visited the Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand last week. Mr Rasou is also Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of projects.

Mr Rusou (third from left) with Michael Greenslade Trade & Investment Commissioner PTI NZ with the PTI and MFaT team at the Auckland offices.

Mr Rusou was in New Zealand as a guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which arranged the courtesy visit to the PTI offices. He was accompanied by Dana Avram of Pacific Connections from the Auckland Office.

He met with Trade & Investment Commissioner Michael Greenslade, Trade Development Manager Ian Furlong, Head of Investments Manuel Valdez and Solomon Islands intern Esmonde Siope.

Mr Rasou mentioned in conversation that in his student days he did a four-week Internship in Sydney with the then Pacific Islands Trade & Investment Commission office in 2001.

He is very aware and supportive of the PTI offices and the role they play. As Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister he has the lead in a number of infrastructure projects, the Cyclone Pam recovery, investment opportunities, Pacer Plus and the Vanuatu-China relationship.

PTI NZ talked to him about our engagement with Vanuatu Companies in the Path to Market Programme; Investments Listed on Pacific Hub; Existing Investments; Leveraging the RSE Scheme to attract Investors; the Approved List for Vanuatu of Import and Clearance of Fresh Fruit and vegetables into NZ

“PTI NZ advised him that deep conversation on Pacer Plus and One China was above our ambit and that we would focus on getting our fingers dirty dealing with building business capability with the Vanuatu SMEs,” Mr Greenslade said.

He was very interested in the 25 fruits and vegetables on the Vanuatu list and the potential for many more. He was concerned at the backlog in requests for approval for at MPI in New Zealand. This (Lack of approved Access) is a barrier for exports from the Pacific to New Zealand, he said.

Johnny Rusou

Hon. Johnny Koanapo completed his undergraduate studies at the University of the South Pacific and holds double Master’s degrees in Public International Policy and Master of Diplomacy from the Australian National University.

Johnny Koanapo is the former Director-General of Foreign Affairs and an influential figure in the Vanuatu government. He is considered one of the future leaders of Vanuatu and is widely respected for his strategic nous and foreign policy expertise. He is a well-regarded MP representing Tanna and a trusted confidante of the Prime Minister, despite being from a different party.

As Parliamentary Secretary to the PM’s office, he is the main conduit for information flow between Parliament and the PM’s Office. MP Koanapo has established close working relationships with Australia, New Zealand and China. He was elected to these roles in 2016.

For more information, email PTI NZ Trade Development Manager Ian Furlong at

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