Following the opening up of New Zealand’s borders, The New Zealand Fiji Business Council has recently concluded a highly productive business mission to Fiji.
The strength of New Zealand and Fiji bilateral relations is undeniable; however, the inability to travel over the past two years has presented some challenges for New Zealand businesses looking to trade goods and services, and/or invest in Fiji.
Hence, when New Zealand border restrictions were relaxed, the New Zealand Fiji Business Council (NZFBC) immediately decided to go ahead with their annual business mission to Fiji.
Despite the short notice, the response was overwhelming; around 40 representatives from New Zealand companies joined Mr Chandar Sen, President of the NZFBC, in Fiji.
“Our members have an interest across a range of sectors and modes of business; these include, manufacturing, boiler services, training and education, professional services and environmental management”, said Mr Sen.
Throughout the week, the New Zealand delegation had the chance to hear about the resilience of the Fijian economy and the opportunities available in Fiji; to learn about the business registration processes and available support from government agencies; and to attend B2B meetings and the Fiji New Zealand and New Zealand Fiji Business Councils’ joint conference in Denarau.
Connecting with Fiji’s best
The New Zealand Fiji Business Council worked closely with key partners including MFAT, NZTE and Investment Fiji to offer its members a great variety of events, and the opportunity to connect with Fiji’s top players.
The “Enabling Trade Recovery” was inaugurated on June 20th by Mr Chandar Sen, who welcomed Fiji’s Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Hon Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji, H.E. Charlotte Darlow and the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji, Mr Ariff Ali.
Attendees also heard from both public, Investment Fiji, Registrar Companies, Fiji Immigration Department, Fiji Revenue and Customs Services; and private sector entities, ANZ, Kookai, PwC and Outsource Fiji.
“In terms of New Zealand investors, we saw from our permit application, tourism goes up as a leading industry. After tourism is real estate. Based on our record, we have a total of 149 New Zealanders holding an investor permit right now, and 86 are those that continue to extend their investor permit”, said Immigration Director Amelia Komaisavai
In addition, the New Zealand representatives attended a networking cocktail hosted by H.E. Charlotte Darlow at New Zealand House in Suva. Distinguished guests included Mr Osea Cawaru, Permanent Secretary for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Mr. Mark Dixon, CEO FRCS, Mrs Jenny Seeto, Investment Fiji Board Chair, and Mr David Dewar, NZTE Trade Commissioner to the Pacific.
“Fiji is Aotearoa’s largest and most significant economic partner in the Pacific region. The strength of the New Zealand delegation, the quality of their Fijian engagements, and the fact that this was the first delegation to visit Fiji since borders reopened, all underscores the closeness of that business partnership, as well as the scale of the opportunities available as Fiji and New Zealand both rebound from the COVID pandemic” Mr Dewar said.
Following a couple of days of attending B2B meetings and visiting a number of facilities across Viti Levu, the delegation arrived at Denarau. The exclusive island was the Fiji New Zealand and New Zealand Fiji Business Councils’ preferred location to hold their 2022 Joint Conference on Friday June 24th. The event’s major sponsor was Neptune Pacific Direct Line and was proudly supported by others.
Reconnecting whanau, friends and businesses
Nearly three years have passed since the NZF and FNZ Business Councils hosted their last joint conference at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand. This year over 160 people gathered at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa in Denarau, to hear from panelists who reflected on the theme ‘New Beginnings: Partnering for a Sustainable Future”.
The event was officially opened by the Chief Guest Fiji’s President H.E. Ratu Wiliame Maivalili Katonivere who acknowledged the role of the Councils in promoting friendship, goodwill and understanding between the business communities of Fiji and New Zealand. His Excellency added,“This joint conference is an important staging ground for co-operation between business and government leaders from Fiji and New Zealand.”
Following his speech, attendees heard from FNZ and NZF Business Councils’ Presidents, Ms Renu Chand and Mr Chandar Sen, respectively; New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji H.E Charlotte Darlow; Reserve Bank of Fiji’s Governor, Mr Ariff Ali; and Fiji Department of Immigration’s Director Ms Amelia Kotobalavu Komaisavai.
The 33rd Joint Conference of the Fiji New Zealand and New Zealand Fiji Business Councils coincided with the NZ public holiday Matariki. Both Council’s Presidents agreed on how the theme ‘New Beginnings: Partnering for a Sustainable Future’ closely aligned to Matariki (reflecting on the past, celebrating the present and looking to the future). They also commented on the Councils’ constant focus on the importance of partnerships between New Zealand and Fiji as businesses in both countries strive for success in order to promote economic growth and prosperity.
Ms Renu Chand concluded “There’s a huge amount of work behind the scenes to coordinate an event such as this – however the feedback from the delegates, from the speakers and from the New Zealand Trade Delegation who made their way from New Zealand – made it all worthwhile. We are really looking forward to hosting again in 2024 – somewhere here in Fiji at an equally awesome venue”.
Photo above: Fiji Ministry for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Hon Faiyaz Koya with New Zealand Fiji Business Council delegation.