Kora Pearls owner Nancy Kora, who has been to the festival on six or seven occasions, said that she attended the festival through Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand.
“I applied through BTIB, who paid the fee into the Pacific Hub that was made up of various Pacific Islands, and I just had to pay for my airfare, accommodation and transport,” said Kora.
She added that the festival was different to normal years, as all 28 Pacific Islands in attendance were in one hub, when previously they had been put in ‘villages’ that were scattered around Auckland’s Western Springs Lakeside Park.
Over the two days, Saturday was a disappointment due to the rain, but Kora said that Sunday, when the sun was shining, was strong.
The opportunity to sell to the museum came following the festival, when PTI set up workshops and ‘speed-dating’ for the attendees.
There, they were well-drilled on their ‘elevator pitch’ during the PTI New Zealand Path to Market workshops that they attended – and some put it successfully into action during their short time there.
The visits offered an opportunity to view different businesses, see other products, observe the packaging, labelling and pricing, and note the standards required to compete.
“They brought in business people or companies that were interested in purchasing products, and they had a chance to talk to us about it,” Kora said.
“Two ladies were there from the Auckland Museum and they didn’t have anything from the Cook Islands or any pearls at all I don’t think, and they were interested in purchasing some.”
Kora said that there is an interest there for repeat business, and is waiting to hear back from the museum about that opportunity.
Auckland Museum retail operations manager Lisa Varga has enjoyed a good association with the programme, after buying many pieces of Pacific Island-made handicrafts for the Auckland Museum Store over the years.
“After having struggled to find good quality, authentic products from the Pacific region to sell in the Auckland Museum Store, the Pasifika Business Market provided a wonderful forum for us to connect face to face and to purchase on the spot,” said Varga.
“This year was even bigger and better than last year, and we came away with a carload of new treasures.”