Tonga business mission’s date with Dateline

The inaugural New Zealand Tonga Business Council (NZTBC) Trade Mission to Tonga is perfectly timed.

The iconic Tanoa Dateline International Hotel will be officially reopened after its extensive refurbishment this week in Tonga.
The iconic Tanoa Dateline International Hotel will be officially reopened after its extensive refurbishment this week in Tonga.

NZTBC’s first trade mission will coincide with the official reopening of Tonga’s iconic Tanoa  International Dateline Hotel after extensive refurbishment. King Tupou VI of Tonga will reopen the hotel at a special ceremony on Thursday. The delegation has been invited to be part of the official reopening and will also be staying at the hotel.

Twenty-six businesses representing a broad range of industries including engineering, infrastructure development, manufacturing, education and health, telecommunication and broadcasting, trade promotions, hospitality and tourism, labour mobility, government, energy, the legal sector, agriculture, fisheries and shipping logistics form part of the delegation. There are 35 business owners, leaders and delegates participating.

Sione Taufa, NZTBC Chairman says, “Numerous trade missions have occurred in the past where NZTBC has been invited to be part of through the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, travelling with Minister McCully in 2011 and 2012, and the previous Mayor of Auckland Len Brown in 2012. This is our first [NZTBC-led] business mission to Tonga since establishment – but the intention is it won’t be the last.”

Commenting on the strength of the delegation and the range of participating businesses, Mr Taufa said, “The numbers indicate the strong interest of businesses in New Zealand who are currently doing business in Tonga and for many who are seriously considering starting business between New Zealand and Tonga.”

The NZTBC was established in 2010, to grow and develop the international relationship between New Zealand and Tonga through encouraging and supporting bi-lateral trade, investment opportunities and working collaboratively with the Tongan Government and its key stakeholders.

Mr Sione Taufa
Mr Sione Taufa

“NZTBC does this by positively influencing the environment in which businesses operate and by providing information and advice that assists the success of businesses in both countries who have an interest towards Tonga and New Zealand,” Mr Taufa said.

An extensive business programme has been planned for the delegation. Members will be introduced to the New Zealand High Commissioner in Tonga, Sarah Walsh, and welcomed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga Siasosi Sovaleni.  A business breakfast will start day two of the programme providing an economic overview of Tonga’s economic and business environment. Tonga’s Reserve Bank as also local commercial banks ANZ and the Bank of the South Pacific will be on hand for a Q&A session.

Delegates will hear from sector-specific panels and speakers will deliver presentations on the potential investment opportunities and sector-specific business opportunities. This will include Tonga’s Public Enterprises, Tonga Power, Port Authority of Tonga, Information and Communication Technology, the Ministries of Tourism, Commerce, Consumer, Trade, Innovation and Labour Energy, Fisheries and Agriculture.

The Tonga Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee’s (TASANOC) Lord Sevele will also give an update on the developments for the South Pacific Games that will be held in Tonga in 2019.

The delegation will breakfast with the Reddy Group on Friday, before site visits to the wharf and ports of Nuku’alofa, Tonga’s renewable energy projects, the Scenic Hotel, the Nishi Packing House and the Tupu’anga Coffee Plantation located in Umusi.

Reddy Group Managing Director Rohit Reddy is an Executive Member of the NZTBC and also an Advisory Board Member of Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I) NZ. Michael Greenslade, PT&I NZ Trade Commissioner, Manuel Valdez, COO and Head of Investment and Joe Fuavao, Trade Development Manager will represent PT&I in the delegation and the ceremonies.

A New Zealand and Tonga Business Exhibition will showcase products and services for export on Saturday before the delegation returns to New Zealand. The New Zealand Tonga Business Council Trade Mission will run from Wednesday 15 to Saturday 18.

Bou Fashions, owned by a Tongan female entrepreneur with outlets in New Zealand and Australia has supplied the shirts for the delegation.

For more information, please contact Joe Fuavao, PT&I Trade Development Officer at joe.f@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz.

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