Samoa Business Network (SBN) and the New Zealand Samoa Trade & Investment Commission (NZSTIC) celebrated Independence Day with the Samoan and New Zealand business community at their Independence Day Business Networking Event which was staged at the Fale o Samoa in Mangere last Thursday evening, with the theme 'Celebrating our Samoan/New Zealand Trade & Business Relationship'.
An event well attended by members of Samoa Business Network and NZSTIC, Community Leaders, Samoan and Pacific business owners, and professionals celebrating the trade and business relationships that Samoa and New Zealand continue to have and one that they hope will continue to grow and prosper for years to come. The event focused on building stronger connections between Samoan based and NZ based Samoan businesses.
The official welcome was delivered by Laura Keil-Hall, Co-founder and current Chairwoman of SBN and Frank Po Ching, Chairman of NZSTIC, who set the scene and spoke about the theme of the event.
It also marked the introduction and first public engagement for the new Samoa Trade Commissioner, Magele Mauliliu Magele, who was also the key note speaker. Magele shared the story about his appointment by the Prime Minister, who told him the role would require “common sense” and also challenged him to bring more business opportunities to Samoa. He also highlighted some of the key milestones Samoa trade has achieved to date, in terms of reviving taro exports to New Zealand, introducing frozen breadfruit chips to the New Zealand market, and the continued success of the RSE scheme in supporting the skill shortage in NZ in the agriculture and construction industries. Magele will be working closely with NZSTIC & Samoa Business Network and their key stakeholders, and business connections, to enhance existing business relationships and find opportunities to bring new business connections to Samoa.
Guest speakers for the evening included David Wong Tung, Founding Member & Commissioner of NZSTIC and Moananu Tyrone Laurenson, Programme Manager for High Tech Youth Network project in Samoa.
David spoke about the humble beginnings of NZSTIC, and the launch in 2011 by the Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Malielegaoi and the former Prime Minister of NZ, To'osavili John Key at Holiday Inn Hotel. NZSTIC as an organisation has over the years grown to include representatives of key NZ government departments in the area of Trade and Pacific Economic Development agencies. NZSTIC and its members have also advised the Prime Minister of Samoa on key economic development projects over years, such as the upcoming Samoa Ports upgrade.
Moananu Tyrone Laurenson, shared the history of the inception of the High Tech Youth project in Samoa, in which the new Samoa Trade Commissioner was involved in securing space for the Computer Lab in Vaivase Tai, through his former role as the Minister of Education of Samoa. The High Tech Youth Project is now delivering after school Digital Learning programs to over 800 school children and youth in Samoa. These programs are equipping these young people with digital skills which they can use to further their education, and ultimately find employment and business opportunities in the IT sector in future. This project highlighted the positive impact of projects supported by New Zealand government and partners, to upskilling Samoan youth for future employment and ultimately creating new business opportunities in Samoa.
Special guests from Samoa included, Tuala Matthew Vaea, CEO of SASNOC and the Samoa Tag Incorporated Executive team led by President Fa’aofonu’u Junior Leota. Samoa Tag Incorporated are in New Zealand to promote their upcoming international Teuila Tag tournament in September. Tuala spoke on behalf of the group, about the important contribution of sports and sporting events to economic development and business in the Pacific Islands.
The formalities concluded with Afamasaga Jackie Curry, Chairwoman of SBN Samoa, sharing the new strategic direction, goals and activities of Samoa Business Network for 2018-2019. Some of the upcoming projects and events for SBN include:
In her concluding remarks, Afamasaga shared a reflection on the importance of working together as Samoans based overseas to give back to our country, “E lele le toloa ae maau lava I le vai”, wherever Samoans venture in the world, they will always return home. This is the spirit of Samoa Business Network, to give back to our country through facilitating new business opportunities and tapping into the professional expertise and experience of our global Samoan business and professional community.
The event ended with a Cocktail ‘Mix & Mingle’ for attendees to network and make new connections.
There was a showcase of businesses which included Soy Delights NZ, owned by Louise Thompson, O le Va’a Folau book written by Henrietta Ah Chong of Gennewwine Books, the MyRivr App, showcased by Director, Elia Chan & CEO, Akerei Thompson, and 7e Technology, showcased by CEO Micheal Sangyum and Community Projects Manager, Tama Emery.
Overall, the event was a success and all who attended enjoyed the networking opportunities, the motivational speakers, the ambiance of a classy Pacific style event and most of all the high quality bistro style finger-food delivered by the caterers, Matai Catering.
The SBN Executive Committee & NZSTIC would like to acknowledge the support from the following individuals and businesses who helped to deliver this event:
For more information about NZSTIC and their ongoing work to promote trade in Samoa, please visit their website http://www.nzstic.co.nz/. For more information on Samoa Business Network events and projects please visit their website https://www.samoabusinessnetwork.org or connect with them on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
End of Press Release
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