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Promoting local businesses

Wednesday 2 August 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Business, Economy, National


Promoting local businesses
Teumere Tairi has tivaivai styles sewn cushion covers, tivaivai to sew, necklaces and dresses. MELINA ETCHES/23080128

Over 80 vendors set up their stalls in the light rain as customers flowed into the Punanga Nui Market for the biggest Bank of the Cook Islands (BCI) trade show.

Government Minister Albert Nicholas officially opened the event with “great pleasure” yesterday morning.

In his welcoming address, Nicholas noted that the BCI Trade Days, which will run until Thursday, August 3, has the “purpose to encourage trade between our islands through showcasing products we produce and grow locally”.

It also provides an opportunity for the Pa Enua to market their products on Rarotonga – “a way of encouraging economic growth on those islands”, he said.

Nicholas said that the government intends to increase trade between the islands, particularly from the Pa Enua to Rarotonga, in agricultural, creative, and marine-based products. This will provide much-needed access to the market for our families in the Pa Enua.

“This Trade Days is one way of strengthening ties between businesses and encouraging relationships between suppliers and consumers.”

Nicholas expects a bustling market place over the next few days and urges people to support the vendors in trade.

“I sincerely thank the Bank of the Cook Islands for being sponsors for over the last 10 years.

“You have been a strong supporter of economic activities in our country and we hope that our partnership continues to grow for the benefit of our small businesses.

“This event is very important and many of our families in the Pa Enua rely predominantly on this event for revenue.”

Jennifer Henry, the chief executive officer of BCI, was pleased to announce the huge increase in the number of vendors from its initial days of only six.

“Through our strong partnership with the Business Trade Investment Board (BTIB), today we have 83 vendors and it’s a credit to the success of the programme,” said Henry.

“Repeta Puna, BTIB CEO, and her team has been the force behind the BCI Trade Days and we can share this common goal in promoting the businesses at the grassroots level.”

Henry acknowledged the vendors and wished them every success and prosperity.

Among the vendors were Maraera Kimiora and her husband and their children. They are the producers of their small homemade “Kimiora Family Oils” made from coconut oil.

“It takes us about three days to fully prepare an ingredient at a time for our oil,” said Maraera.

“We have the akari ira which is good for detoxing and for babies, the akari avaava which helps soothe itchy bites and eczema and the akari pi for everything.”

Maraera said many of their customers contact them privately for their regular orders. She can be contacted on 77513.

The Matara family’s “Aeata Stall” specialises in intricately handmade rito products all the way from Penrhyn island.

The vibrant colourful rito woven hats which are highly sought after looked stunning, and the stall also had delicate fans and shell ei on display.

Also available at the Trade Days are pareu, bedspreads, tivaivai, pillowcases, fresh produce, plants, handmade soap, jewellery, delicious food and entertainment from Aotearoa New Zealand.