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Tonga’s businesses struck but not crushed by Cyclone

Four Tongan organisations are attending Pacific Trade Invest New Zealand’s Pasifika Business Market at Auckland’s Pasifika Festival following Cyclone Gita.

Hahake District Working Council, South Pacific Mazuku, Tupuanga Coffee and Veuveuso Vaea will be part the Tongan delegation led by Tonga’s Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Innovation & Labour (MCCTIL). Pacific Trade Invest New Zealand will be hosting more than 35 Pacific Island companies from 12 countries as part of their Path to Market programme at the new Pasifika Business Market.

Tonga’s businesses are still getting back on track but the Hahake District Council from the Eastern part of Tongatapu was one of the worst hit areas after Cyclone Gita struck.

Senior Trade Official Maile Akauola in an interview with PTI’s Pacific Periscope said that attending Pasifika Festival was of utmost importance.

“Tonga was struck but not crushed. Tonga appreciates the chance and is hoping for more sustained opportunities to market our foods, especially our root crops. Our Growers Council wants markets.”

Instead of the container of taro and fresh young coconuts they were planning to sell at Pasifika they now have 3 varieties of 11 cartons of 25kg each sent by plane. They plan to have a taro dessert called Fakakakai Taro and boiled taro with coconut cream for festival goers to try.

“Exporting taro is still at the infant stage as members of the Eastern Districts Growers Council are still hoping to secure markets that directly work with the council and through a ‘middle man’

arrangement. The member of the council has other products such as watermelon, yam, kumara and tapioca, securing a direct market for these is a priority,” he said.

Tupuanga Coffee producers, Alipate and Emeline Mafile’o’s plantation was also damaged but quickly got back on its feet. They repaired the damaged roof and walls at the factory are back on track although they were still waiting for some of their staff to get back to work.

They will sell 100% Aribica Tupu’anga Coffee, gluten free vegetable corn chips (Manioke ) cassava, Kumala Chips and fusion products such as Lu-Sipi (taro leaves and Lamb) pie.

South Pacific Mazuku owner Masa Kawaguchi told Pacific Periscope “Our objective is to add value to existing products and study market requirements developed from new market opportunities.”

Mozuku process a range of seafoods such as pickled sea grapes, coconut infused smoked blood cockles (Kaloaa) and a variety of deep sea fish, breams, snappers and emporers.

Veuveuso Vaea is an artist specialising in bone carving artefacts and tapa work. His Tapa artwork is stunning and are already a hit with tourists to Tonga. Tapa artworks range in sizes from 30x30, 40x40, 50x50 and 100x100.

© Scoop Media

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