The SBN calendar of events was officially launched on Tuesday 24 February 2015 with the first networking evening of the year.
Guest speaker, businessman and current Chair of the New Zealand-Samoa Trade and Investment Commission, Tauili’ili Fatu Fuatavai, captivated the audience with some sage advice and lessons from his own experiences in business.
Tauili’ili, a qualified engineer by profession, recounted his extremely interesting history in business, from his start in doing “odd jobs” in building decks and house renovations for people in his church until he reached a point in his career when his private jobs earned him more money than his day job.
Tauili’ili’s talked at length about residential and commercial property development and the lessons he drew from those experiences. He expanded on the steep risks involved in investment decisions and the amount of due diligence that is required. Tauili’ili especially drew on his experiences in taking calculated risks and identifying opportunities in the market. He illustrated this with a rollicking example from the early 1990s when he took advantage of changes in government housing policy and delved into residential property investment.
Tauili’ili’s main points of advice were to never stop learning and always try to be nice to everyone, and always keep your mind active. Learning could even come from watching movies, as he explained that he learned a bit about mergers and acquisitions from watching the movies, Pretty Woman and Working Girls. This stood him in good stead for the second half of his career when he acquired several businesses and gradually sold them off over time for a profit.
The current phase of Tauili’ili’s life, now involves him engaging in volunteer work. The work he does for NZSTIC comes with the aim of growing Samoa’s export earnings into New Zealand. A market where Samoa currently imports over $100 million from, yet only exports $3 million into.
The night wrapped up with the introduction of the year’s events, including the upcoming workshops and networking evenings and breakfasts lined up for the year.
If you met Laura Keil-Hall today, you'd never believe that not so many years ago she was too shy to do a communications paper at AUT because she would have to present to her classmates.
Today, Laura is co-founder of the Samoa Business Network (SBN), she works with Auckland Regional Migrant Services, is a member of PACIFICA Manukau, a supporting member of Samoan Victim Support Group Auckland, and works with various other community organisations. She has recently secured a new role as a business acquisition manager at the Bank of New Zealand and, with her husband Walter, she is bringing up their two children aged 9 and 3.
What drives her is a desire to improve the lives of Samoans in New Zealand. Laura says that one of the keys to her success is financial literacy. “When I arrived in New Zealand, I was 18, I didn’t know about hire purchase agreements, credit checks or guarantees. People asked me to take a loan out for them in my name. What saved me was that I didn’t have a credit rating.”
It didn’t take Laura long to get to grips with financial matters. She worked part-time at Rainbow’s End and enrolled in a Certificate in Business at AUT. She would have finished it in one year had it not been for that communications paper, which she finally forced herself to complete after three attempts. Then, armed with her new qualification, she set about finding a job. It didn’t take long.
She was interviewed for a job with the Home Ownership Trust and on the same day she was offered the position of office assistant. Within two years she was a mortgage manager. From there she went on to work at Fisher and Paykel Finance and then Instant Finance.
“I saw many of our Pacific people come to finance companies for help, especially to take out loans – many times for what they said was fa’alavelave. I saw parents use their children once they turned 18 to take out loans. I saw family and friends bringing in family members, – not long after their arrival in New Zealand and who had only just found jobs – to take out loans or be guarantors for loans. All of this unfortunately still happens today,” Laura says.
“My mom [the late Veronica Keil, née Brown] taught me about faith, hope and love, and I try to live my life by those three things. My dad [the late Lesa Lutz Keil] taught me about hard work, dedication and commitment to family and country. I have faith that doors will continue to open for me. I don’t just sit down, pray and hope that something will happen, I work hard, but I never feel that I’m walking alone,” Laura says.
She has been with the BNZ for six years. “I was working for another bank and they wanted me to work in the city. With a young family, that was going to be too hard. What I really wanted was a job in Manukau, as it would be much closer to home. There was nothing, but when I checked a week later, the BNZ had a vacancy.”
And it was with the BNZ that she found herself being challenged once more.
“My manager, I hated him at the time,” she says laughing, “because part of my job with BNZ Connect involved organising and speaking at networking events. I had to stand up and talk and inspire people, and I dreaded doing it. But actually, in the end, I was grateful to my manager because fronting up like that helped to build my confidence.”
Laura thinks it is too easy to clump all Pasifika peoples under the one umbrella. “We may have similarities, but we also have big cultural differences. I don’t believe labelling us ‘Pacific people’ and assuming we’re all the same brings the best out in us.”
To that end, she teamed up with Rasmus Pereira and established the Samoa Business Network (SBN), which she currently chairs and which is now registered as a legal entity. The aim of the network is to bring together Samoan entrepreneurs and businesses to work together and support each other. The network meets most months, usually bringing together between 30 and 40 people to mix, mingle, and often to listen to a guest speaker. “And we’ve been supported by the BNZ since establishment, and in our September event the ANZ is sponsoring us.”
Laura says the SBN has raised money for Samoa after cyclone Evan in 2013, made a substantial donation to Samoa Women in Business, launched Samoan author Lani Wendt-Young’s third book in the The Telesa Trilogy, The Bone Bearer, at the BNZ Manukau, and was involved in the launch of the Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters ‘Buy Samoa Made’ initiative in November of 2013.
Laura says it makes sense for banks to be supporting Pasifika events and to partner with settlement organisations. “People arrive in New Zealand and one of the first things they need is a bank account. I think banks overall could be more supportive of new migrants.”
She is now working with Auckland Regional Migrant Services, which offers a wide range of services to new Aucklanders, including help and advice about finding employment, learning English, educational pathways, and navigating life in Auckland.
But Laura says she still feels more could be done to prepare Pacific people for life in New Zealand.
“A lot of people in a new environment are too proud or too shy to ask for help – I was like that once, too scared to ask a bus driver where the bus was going – but when we get the right people and the relevant services together, life works a lot better for everybody. I want to see more Samoans running successful businesses and to see more Samoans financially secure – and I’m working to help make sure that happens.”
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Migrant stories - https://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz/resources/skilled-and-helping-others-to-upskill
The Samoa Business Network (‘SBN’), in collaboration with the Pacific Business Trust (‘PBT’), is excited to host the final SBN networking event for the year. The keynote speaker for the night is the legendary trailblazer in business and COGITA founder, Ulu Aiono. The event will also mark the conclusion of the SBN fundraising auctions for the Samoa Cancer Society and Samoa Victim Support Group that have been running on Trademe since the October Networking event.
Keynote Speaker: Uluomatootua Saulaulu Aiono, BSc, MBA, ONZM
Born in Apia, Ulu’s parents moved the family to New Zealand in 1960. Eventually Ulu matriculated from Auckland Grammar School to Otago University, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Ulu later returned to Otago University and in 1986 became the first Pacific Islander to complete a postgraduate MBA degree at the University.
In 1983, Ulu became the first Samoan to start a high technology company in New Zealand when he founded COGITA. Such was its success; the company quickly grew into an international high technology ERP (enterprise resource planning) Software Company.
In June 2012, Ulu and his wife, Margaret, sold COGITA’s international assets, contracts and offices to Epicor, a giant Silicon Valley software company. For services to business, Ulu was honoured and made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2012 New Year’s Honour’s list.
In May 2014, ViAGO, one of the companies under the COGITA Group, developed the critical thinking methods and other intangible assets which are the core intellectual property in a one billion dollar technology IPO on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Ulu was also appointed by the Minister of Broadcasting to chair the National Pacific Radio Trust, which operates the Pacific Media Network, Radio 531pi, Radio NiuFM and Pacific Radio News. He is also the chair of the Audit and Finance Committee at Habitat for Humanity Greater Auckland; and the incoming chair of the Alliance Health Plus PHO. In his spare time, Ulu is a co-opted member of the Otahuhu College Board of Trustees; member of the Salvation Army Church; and recently appointed by the Minister for Pacific Island Affairs to the board of the PBT.
Ulu’s main role is in helping companies by fixing their critical thinking, sales, cash flow and systems.
Link to Ulu Aiono interview with Tagata Pasifika
Auction Fundraiser for the Samoa Cancer Society and Samoa Victims Support Group
SBN’s fundraising for the Samoa Cancer Society and Samoa Victims Support Group comes to a conclusion with the auction winners being presented with their prizes on the night. Other items kindly donated will also be auctioned off for the charity fundraiser on the night. The fundraisers have been running on Trademe since SBN’s October Networking Event. SBN is indebted to our kind sponsors who have generously donated prizes for the auction. SBN thanks Kara’s Fashion House, The Works Hair Salon, Mena, WE Accounting and Shopsamoa.com.
Those wishing to contribute further products to the auction or make financial donation into SBN Inc account may do so through the official SBN Inc account number: 02- 0191-0352390-001
Date: Tuesday 9th December 2014
Time: 6.00pm – 9.00pm (doors open at 5.30pm)
Venue: Pacific Business Trust, 733 Great South Road, Otahuhu
Dress Code: Smart Casual
Entry: $20.00 per person, including SBN members.
All proceeds will go towards the Samoa Cancer Society & Samoa Victim Support Group.
The Samoa Business Network’s October 2014 Networking Evening kicked off with a flare of pink, as the society used the opportunity to join the international movement in raising greater awareness about Breast Cancer and celebrating women in leadership.
Co-hosted by Works Hair Salon and WE Accounting and Business Services Limited at the Works Hair Salon in Grey Lynn, over 30 guests and members of the network gathered to listen to the guest speaker for the evening, Sina Wendt-Moore the Chief Executive of Leadership New Zealand.
In her work as Chief Executive, Sina’s main focus is on enriching the leadership culture of New Zealand, by connecting senior leaders through conversation, helping them learn how to lead and work across diversity, to innovate, collaborate and make a difference for New Zealand.
Sina spent much of her talk placing great emphasis on the need to celebrating diversity in our communities and also within our businesses; a diversity of personalities, thinking, and ways of doing or performing leadership.
Sina commented on the need for Pacific communities to rethink their understandings of leadership, and that a shift from more traditional western, authoritative, monocultural and masculine forms of leadership must give way to new understandings of leadership which are much more complex, dynamic and feminine and are able to respond to the diverse needs to today’s societies. Sina also advanced the principle of intergenerational solidarity, and that forward thinking leadership in NZ must prioritise on incorporating the values, ideas and creativity of our younger generations.
The Samoa Business Network Executive Committee would like to thank and acknowledge the following members for their support and sponsorship of the event:
The Works Hair Salon
WE Accounting &U Business Services Ltd
*N.B The next Samoa Business Networking Evening will take place on Tuesday 9th December, 2014 from 5.30pm – 9.30pm hosted by the Pacific Business Trust in Otahuhu
Monday, 13 October 2014, 1:00 pm
Press Release: Samoa Business Network
Samoa Business Network is pleased to bring you their first lot of Workshops for the month of November.
Getting on the right foot...
We're halfway through the financial year, time to take a fresh look at your business and make sure you are on the right foot! Are you meeting your business financial goals? Do you need to re-visit your marketing strategy and business plan?
With small but significant changes you can sort out your finances, widen your market presence and get back on the right foot! This is a great time to re-focus and plan ahead for 2015!!
Our two November SBN workshops are going to offer business tips and advice, delivered by successful Samoan business people who work everyday with business owners in the areas of Accounting, Business Planning and Marketing and are passionate about supporting Pacific businesses.
Tuesday 4th November - Tips and tricks for financial success – Forward planning and managing a budget.
Tuesday 18th November - Business and Marketing Planning - The essentials for your business.
Time: 7:30am - 9:00am
Tuesday mornings - 4th November & 18th November
Location: BNZ Highbrook, Partners Centre, 86 Highbrook Dr, East Tamaki, Auckland
Free to SBN members, $25 non members per session.
RSVP’s essential email@example.com as limited numbers available.
Tea and coffee will be provided with light refreshments after the workshop for those that wish to network.
>>> 4th November - TIPS & TRICKS FOR FINANCIAL SUCCESS <<<
Like all small-business owners, you need to start off on the right foot by avoiding financial problems that too often trip up the self-employed. Now is a great time to make improvements in your business to avoid the pitfalls. This workshop will give you some great tips to get you on the right path to financial success.
Presented by successful accountants and business owners Eli and Wyndi Tagi www.weaccounting.co.nz
>>> 18th November - BUSINESS PLANNING & MARKETING ESSENTIALS <<<
Starting your business on the right foot sets your business up for success, that's why it is essential to have a business and marketing plan in place. It is also essential to re-visit your plans regularly. This workshop will set you up on the right track or help you re-evaluate your current business and marketing plans. Whether you are a start-up or well-established business, taking time to STOP working in your business and START working on your business by planning ahead will set you up for success and growth in your business.
Presented by Director of Business Spacific and Small Business Management Tutor Jackie Curry-Malolo
This is the first of many workshops to come so please provide us with feedback and suggestions so we can bring more exciting workshops to you.
Please feel free to cascade to your networks.
Samoa Business Network's September networking evening kicks off for the first time in central-western suburbs.
Guest speaker Tupaimatuna Willy Johnson spoke about his journey, trials and tribulations leading up to setting up his current accounting firm Johnston Associates.
The event was well attended by various business owners in the local area.
With much thanks and gratitude to ANZ Grey Lynn for their support in hosting this event and also the Grey Lynn Business Association and members for turning out on the night.
The September networking evening is breaking new ground by making its way out to the central-western suburbs on Tuesday 9 September 2014. The event will be hosted by ANZ Grey Lynn for the first time since SBN’s establishment.
SBN is also honoured to have Tupaimatuna Willy Johnston as guest speaker for the night.
Tupaimatuna runs his own Chartered Accountancy firm, Johnston Associates Chartered Accountants in Ponsonby. He is the youngest son of Ken Johnston from Lalovaea & Ida Schmidt from Safotu from a family of 5 brothers. Born & Bred in Auckland, Tupai attended primary school at St Benedicts, and high school at St Pauls College, Ponsonby, before matriculating to Auckland University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce.
Tupai has 24 years accounting experience. He started his accountancy career initially at Spicer & Oppenheim in Auckland (now BDO) then 3 years overseas working in the Cook Islands & British Virgin Islands, before returning back to NZ in 1996 working for Christmas & Co (Now William Buck) where he was invited to be a partner in 2000.
In 2003, Tupai set up Johnston Associates on Ponsonby Road with Brother Rick Johnston. Tupai started off with a team of 5. Today, the firm has 36 accountants based in 2 offices at Auckland & Nelson. The firm’s vision is "Creating Prosperity with Passion & Wisdom".
Also in attendance will be various local candidates for the upcoming election.
Location: ANZ Grey Lynn
Date: Tues 9th Sept, 2014
Time: 6.30pm - 8.30pm (Doors open at 6.00pm)
Attire: Business/Smart Casual
Entry: FREE for SBN members & $10.00 non-members
First 'Business Networking Breakfast' a success with Hon. Minister of the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, Peseta Sam Lotu-iiga
On Saturday 28th March 2014, the Samoa Business Network (Inc) hosted its first SBN Networking Breakfast Event at the BNZ Manukau, a departure from the usual and successful Networking Evenings, as part of a bid to expand the network and cater to it’s many members.
Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, the Hon. Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Member of Parliament for Maugakiekie was guest speaker for the event.
Over 40 participants attended, where they listened to Peseta talk about the critical role education plays in ensuring a better and brighter future for our peoples, and indeed credited his education for the success he has enjoyed to date.
Peseta also shared his brighter vision for Pasifika communities, and spent much of his time talking about the work he and his government are engaged in, in trying to achieve this vision. The next part of his talk was a question and answer session, where he and fellow SBN members discussed issues such as financial literacy, leadership programs, business support through shared services and skilled employment schemes.
The invitation of a government minister set’s a new tone for the Network, and highlights the efforts of the Network to further expand and to grow its networks and visibility within the Samoan business and wider community.
The audience was treated to a wonderful breakfast catered by Frangapani Hospitality. Based in south Auckland Frangipani is owned by Sepi & Barbara Faulalo, Specialises in Pacific Food Fusion.
In the lead up to the event, the Network also welcomed several new members including WE Accounting and Business Services’ Wyndi and Eli Tagi, Pulotu Selio Solomon and the Martin Hautus Institute, Sepi and Barbara Faulalo of Frangipani Catering, Ese Tatupu of Ese Tatupu Funeral Directors & Mortuary Embalmers and Culture-X New Zealand.
The Samoa Business Network Executive Committee would like to thank and acknowledge the following members for their support and sponsorship of the event:
Pacific Ezy Money Transfer
Super City Works
NZ Pacific Newspaper
WE Accounting & Business Services Ltd
N.B The next Samoa Business Networking Evening will take place on Tuesday 29th April, 2014 from 6.00pm - 8.00pm hosted by WE Accounting & Business Services.
For immediate release
20th March 2014
The Samoa Business Network’s (SBN Inc) schedule of networking events breaks new ground in March when it hosts the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, the Hon. Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga as its guest speaker. The event itself will be the first networking breakfast for SBN Inc and will run from 7.30am – 10.00am on Saturday 29th March 2014 at BNZ Manukau.
The Samoan-born MP for Maungakiekie will be speaking about his migrant story and his path to Parliament.
The talk will touch upon Peseta’s own experiences in business and his thoughts on the potential for Samoans etching a larger footprint in self-employment. It will also serve as a point of inspiration to SBN members to take stock of their own journey as Samoan immigrants and to encourage further growth in their own businesses.
SBN is grateful to the following sponsors for making this event possible:
Levi Plumbing, NZ Pacific newspaper, Super City Works, WE Accounting, Business Spacific, Pacific Ezy Money Transfer, Talia Design, BNZ Manukau and Shopsamoa.com.
Guest Speaker: Hon. Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga (Minister of MPIA)
Date: Saturday 29th March, 2014
Time: 7:30am - 10.00am
Venue: BNZ Manukau, 639 Great South Rd, Manukau City
Cost: Free (Members); $10.00 per head (Non-Members)
Dress Code: Island Formal / Semi-Formal
RSVP: Talia Brown +6421-034-3077 / John Milo +6421-044-6711
The Samoa Business Network (SBN Inc) held the last of its very successful Networking Evenings for 2013 at the BNZ in Penrose. Hosted by ShopSamoa.com, the bank came to life as a dazzling display of ShopSamoa.com’s finest products were displayed around the premises. Founded in 2011 and based in Penrose, ShopSamoa.Com is a part of SAMOANZ Ltd Company, and is Samoa's premier online store, offering a wide range of products from DVDs, Handicrafts to Books & more.
In keeping with the purpose of the promotion of all things Samoan, the Networking evening’s guest speaker and the way in which the programme panned out were equally enchanting. The guest speaker for the evening, Papali'i Dr. Pita Taouma is no stranger to the Samoan community, and has devoted much of his life to serving the Samoan community here in New Zealand and in Samoa through a variety of portfolios.
The evening began with an opening prayer from Pafelio Momoisea, a licensed consultant for Harcourts and member of the Samoa Business Network, followed by fellow SBN Member, Samoa’s Trade Commissioner Fonoti Dr Lafita'i Iupati Fuata'i who set the context for the evening, by providing a very insightful introduction to Papali’i and the significant contribution he has made to our Samoan people.
Papali’i’s address entitled the ‘Marriage of Business and the Fa’aSamoa’, was an insightful piece, richly informed with a wealth of experience and knowledge of all things political and business-wise; ideas, values and understandings developed over a very long and successful career in service of one’s country.
Papali’i began his address by asking what appeared to be a much younger crowd, what the relationship was between business and the Fa’aSamoa, and confirmed what many assumed when he stated that the relationship, has often in the past been quite disastrous. Papali’i then offered a recipe, with three key aspects to avoid, in order to ensure that the marriage of business and the Fa’aSamoa is successful.
Called the three FIA’s, Papalii warned participants to stay away from being "fia tagata, fia tele, and fia sili". He then supplemented this advice, by advising listeners to first of all be aware of their faiā; being aware of the interrelationships – your place in amongst others with your aiga, your immediate and extended family, your family relations and associations, your village and your country. And although Papali’i acknowledged alofa as a core concept of the Fa’aSamoa he also warned that in the world of business, that this needed to be regulated for the benefit of the business, and that this could be achieved easily by remembering these steps.
[A video of Papali'i Dr. Pita Taouma's presentation will be made available soon on our website. Please subscribe to our newsletter by sending your details to firstname.lastname@example.org]
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.