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Porirua Pacific Business Trust Office Opening

Porirua Pacific Business Trust Office Opening

Talofa lava, Ni sa bula, Malo e lelei, Taloha ni, fakaalofa lahi atu, Kia ora tatou and warm greetings to you all.

A very warm welcome to you all on this auspicious occasion. I offer the apologies of the Acting Minister of Pacific Island Affairs Chris Carter who regrets he is unable to be here today.

I'd like to acknowledge the tagatata whenua, Ngati Toa and our kaumatua, kia ora koutou. Welcome also to Reverend Ministers, Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, Porirua mayor Jenny Brash and councillors, other civic leaders, as well as Business Porirua's executive director Mandy Natusch and her team.

Warm greetings also to Pauline Winter and the board of the Pacific Business Turst, and to Jim Mather, the Trust's chief executive and his Auckland team, who have made the journey to be here today. And finally to Fitu Ah Young, who will head the new office we are opening today.

It is good to be back in Porirua where I spent some of my teenage years.

And it is particularly good to be here to celebrate a special event - the official opening of the Pacific Business Trust's Porirua Office.

Through the Government's Pacific Capacity Building strategy Poriura's Pacific communities identified the need for a satellite office of the Pacific Business Trust in this region.

>From today, that need will be met. The Trust is now at the very heart of the region's Pacific population. While Pacific peoples account for 8 percent of the Wellington region's population, here in Porirua the figure is closer to 25 percent. That makes Porirua one of New Zealand's biggest Polynesian cities.

And the march south does not end here in Wellington. I understand that a similar PBT office will be opened in Christchurch later in the year.

Pacific businesses are under-represented in New Zealand's economy Only about 5.6 per cent of the Pacific workforce are self-employed. However I am pleased to say that figure is changing, with the number of self-employed Pacific people doubling in just under nine years.

The PBT has an important role in making sure that figures continues to grow by promoting business development and business ownership.

It does so by providing a raft of business services including venture funding and grants, advising on business planning, running networking and awareness raising events, providing training and running a business mentoring programme where those already successful in business give support to those starting out.

I am pleased to report in the last twelve months the Trust has helped more than one thousand Pacific companies or business people.

And of course there is also the support they give students.

The PBT has always recognised the importance of education in encouraging business success. Each year it publishes what I believe is the most comprehensive list of scholarship information for Pacific youth. The "Achievers" magazine celebrates the achievements of young Pacific peoples and provides inspiration to others. It is highly sought after and last year 33,000 copies of the magazine were distributed to schools throughout New Zealand.

It is with the young people that New Zealand's future lies. That is particularly true here in Porirua where almost 30 percent of Porirua's residents are under the age of 15.

As well as having a relatively youthful population Porirua is also one of New Zealand's fastest growing cities. This combination of factors together make Porirua a city with enormous potential. The Trust's role is to make sure that Pacific peoples can contribute to that exciting future and also benefit from it. That is the challenge that lies ahead.

It is not a challenge the Pacific Business Trust faces alone. As well as celebrating the Trust's new presence in Wellington we are also marking the start of a new alliance between the PBT and Business Porirua. Because of their passion for Pacific peoples' economic development Business Porirua was the obvious strategic partner for the Trust. That passion is combined with a focus on grass roots economic and business development methods. Together I am certain that the Trust and Business Porirua will make an awesome team.

Every single business enterprise, big and small, begins with just an idea, a dream and a willingness to take a risk.

We all need to take more risks. As Pacific peoples we need to have more confidence in our abilities as thinkers, doers, shakers and movers. Only then will we make our dreams our reality.

The Pacific Business Trust and Business Porirua are today embarking on a journey that will help more Pacific peoples turn their dreams into reality. I wish them every success in that journey.

That I can think of no better way of finishing than to quote the Pacific Business Trust's motto: Pacific initiative, Pacific Success. With those words I now declare the Pacific Business Trust Porirua Office officially open.

Ia Manuia tele.

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