It was a pleasure to co-host with Te Waka – Waikato Economic Development Agency and New Zealand Treasury yesterday: Struan Little, Treasury’s Deputy Chief Executive and Deputy Secretary, Budget and Public Investment, Su’a Kevin Thomsen, who is Treasury’s Chief Advisor Pacific Capability, Georgina Fulton who is Treasury’s MPP Vote Analyst, Ministry for Pacific Peoples Deputy Secretary for Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer Leatigaga Jason Tualima, and Pacific Business Trust‘s Chairman Paul Retimanu and CEO Mary Los’e.
What started off with pick up from the airport and a drive-by sight tour of key developments in the region to include Waikato Ruakura Development, Innovation Park, University of Waikato Te Pa, Pasifika Fale, and Surgeons on Clarence new Endoscopic Hospital build (in progress).
Followed by a roundtable discussion with all key parties to discuss Waikato’s regional economic development priorities, the role the Network and Pacific peoples play contributing to the region’s economic development and business development; and its alignment to Pacific Business Trust’s national strategy as the Pacific economic development entity.
It was five years ago 2018, when the Waikato Pacific Business Network first hosted New Zealand Treasury meeting with our then executive and a number of our businesses.
Yesterday we visited:
🐚 Waikato Shutters & Blinds and Easy Build owned by Fijian born brothers Jourdan and Bart Lee,
🐚 PIVOT Bail Accommodation, the first and only Pacific bail accommodation social enterprise in New Zealand hosted by Samoan co-founders, Danielle Chan-Boon and Psalms Masame. It was lovely to be the first group in their boardroom.
🐚 Finally, we met with Tongan entrepreneur Ana Latu-Lauhingoa who owns two businesses: TJ Brothers Construction Ltd and Friendly Island Takeaway & Catering.
It was an inspiring afternoon for both parties to hear and talanoa/talk of challenges and opportunities for businesses to be sustainable and successful especially during this current ‘slowing down’ economic environment.
Treasury met with WPBN board members and spoke more about the role of WPBN in the region growing from strength to strength in collaboration and partnership with its key stakeholders and members.
To end the day a networking event held at FMG Stadium saw Struan Little and Su’a Thomsen speak to a packed room followed by Q&A from the floor.

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