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Wellington Targeted For More Pacific Business

Wellington Region Targeted For More Pacific Business

The Pacific Business Trust and Business Porirua are joining forces to foster successful Pacific businesses in the Wellington region. The partners will seal their alliance with the opening of a new Pacific Business Trust office in Porirua on February 24th.

The Pacific Business Trust is funded by the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs and offers business funding, support and advice, arts awards, scholarships and research funding. The Trust's Wellington office will help reach a significant part of New Zealand's Pacific population. In Porirua, Pacific people make up 23% of the city's population and 8% of Wellington's regional population.

Pauline Winter, Chair of the Pacific Business Trust, says this partnership is a first for the Trust and she warmly acknowledges the commitment of Business Porirua.

"Pacific people have much to contribute to the New Zealand economy and this new initiative will assist the development of sustainable Pacific businesses in the Wellington area," says Winter.

The Trust's business development strategies have attracted the attentions of other potential partners, including Westpac Bank, the sponsors of the new office launch. Westpac's Chief Economist, Adrian Orr, says the bank's giving its support because it wants to see Pacific peoples' opportunities grow.

"People of Pacific descent are a rich part of the fabric of New Zealand and Wellington and contribute strongly to the business and cultural environment," says Orr, himself the Pacific Business Trust's 2001 Businessperson of the Year. "I am committed to ensuring the growth of our partnership with the Trust."

Porirua is a strategic location for the Trust to set up an office. A young city, nearly half of its population is aged under 29 years (2001 census). Only 20% of this young population is employed, increasing the need to educate and upskill them for business participation.

"Our partnership with Pacific Business Trust will be the catalyst for unlocking the business potential of the local Pacific Island community," said Chris Gollins, Chairman of Business Porirua. "We are delighted to welcome the Trust to Porirua City and look forward to further enhancing the Porirua economy."

Pacific Business Trust Chief Executive, Jim Mather, says working with Business Porirua will help the Trust broaden their community base while working at a local level.

"The opening of our Wellington region office signals our clear intention to deliver our services to Pacific communities throughout the country and not just Auckland," says Mather. "We want to connect with local Pacific businesses in Porirua and the greater Wellington region, as well as assisting in the creation of new businesses."

Business Porirua says nearly 12% of their Biz Info clients are Pacific people, and agrees there are more who need to be reached. "Partnering with the Trust will mean full-time dedicated assistance to these businesses," says Mandy Natusch, Executive Director of Business Porirua. "We are keen to tap into the potential talent in the Pacific market to lift economic development in the region."

The Pacific Business Trust's Wellington regional office will be headed by business advisor, Fitu Ah Young, who is of Samoan descent. Ah Young has eleven years' experience in his own business and has worked closely with many community and government agencies during that time.

Samoan Labour MP, Taito Phillip Field, will open the new office on February 24th. The Trust plans to open a Christchurch office in July 2003.

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