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Pacific Business Achievements Celebrated at Awards

Pacific Business Trust Media
Release Friday 25 July 2003

Pacific Business Achievements Celebrated at Awards

Excellence and success in Pacific business were recognised last night at the 2003 Pacific Business Awards. More than 350 people gathered at the Auckland Town Hall, including special guests Dame Te Arikinui Te Atairangi Kaahu, the Hon. Tutoatasi Fakafanua from Tonga, Marie Pa Ariki from the Cook Islands and the Hon. Taito Phillip Field, Associate Minister of Pacific Island Affairs.

Four awards were given to celebrate the best in Pacific business. In an emotional speech, Isaac Tuhega, the winner of the premier Pacific Business Award, thanked his family and church for supporting him during his business career. The Niuean businessman started out in the timber industry in 1985 and now owns the New Lynn Building Centre Ltd in West Auckland.

Mike Pero, the winner of the Pacific Business Person of the Year Award, said there was a high standard of competition in his category and he felt honoured to receive the award. Mike is the owner and manager of NZ's largest mortgage broker business - Mike Pero Mortgages. The business began in 1990 and today there are more than 30 franchisees from Whangarei to Dunedin.

Teufili Latu from South Seas Furniture Ltd spoke of the struggles he faced setting up his furniture manufacturing business. Latu accepted the Enterprise Award with his wife Seneti saying it was a major achievement for them. He originally worked as a cleaner in a furniture factory when he came to NZ from Tonga in 1987. He now supplies budget and luxury furniture for outlets in New Zealand and Tonga.

The Pacific Business Leader Award was given to Panu Raea, General Manager of Environment, Health, Safety and Risk for Carter Holt Harvey. Raea, who is of Cook Island, Greek and Welsh descent, said receiving the award was a humbling experience and an honour for himself and his company. Under Raea's leadership, Carter Holt Harvey has exceeded a 15% reduction in recordable injuries and lost time accidents as well as an equal reduction in recordable environmental incidents.

The Pacific Business Awards was established by the Pacific Business Trust in 1993 and is held every two years to acknowledge the success of Pacific entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders. Jim Mather, chief executive of the Trust, said the organisation was positioning itself to develop and support more Pacific business success stories in the future.

"These awards are a testimony to the caliber of Pacific business people operating in NZ," said Mather. "Whether they are self employed or come from the corporate sector, our people have the ability to succeed. Unfortunately only 5.6% of our Pacific people are self employed compared to the national average of 18%. Our aim is to get our people on par with mainstream."

The Pacific Business Awards was sponsored by the National Business Review, Gosling Chapman Chartered Accountants, the Employers and Manufacturers Association, the National Business Information Service, Property Works, Farrow Jamieson Management Consultants and Ellis Gould Barristers and Solicitors.


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