Featuring a vibrant fusion of art, travel music, dance, food, furniture, beauty, jewellery and fashion, the Pacific Showcase will demonstrate there is more to the islands than blue skies and white sand beaches, says spokeswoman Meg Poutasi.
“When we think of the Pacific, we imagine palm trees and gorgeous beaches. But it’s is also a hub of superb products, arts and culture. The Pacific Showcase is an opportunity for visitors and New Zealanders to experience this side of the Pacific first hand,” she says.
“Many of the products and cultural experiences people will see at the showcase are uniquely Pacific because they reflect the communities and are inspired by the lands from which they are sourced.”
The Pacific is being packed into Auckland’s Cloud in early September in a free three-day event to showcase the best of the region to Kiwis and international visitors arriving for the Rugby World Cup.
It brings the sights, smells, tastes and sounds of the Pacific to Auckland – with the honour of launching the city’s new waterfront venue in the process. It also coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Pacific Islands Forum.
Organisers see it as an unprecedented opportunity to connect Pacific enterprises with consumers, retailers and potential suppliers in New Zealand – one of the region’s most important trading partners.
Pacific countries will tell their stories and display their tourism attractions on a giant video screen, complemented by a Pacific market place – and a night market. Visitors are invited to sample innovative and unique Pacific products, from beauty treatments to exotic spices and other culinary delights. Together with top cultural performances, cooking demonstrations and displays by emerging and celebrated Pacific artists, the Pacific Showcase will be like stepping into the Pacific - without leaving New Zealand.
With the event taking place immediately before the Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 9 thousands of international visitors - more than 20,000 are expected to arrive in New Zealand for the opening week alone - will have the chance to experience the Pacific.
A separate section of The Cloud features business displays and business-to-business engagement, supplemented by seminars and other activities showcasing the modern Pacific, focusing on priority sectors such as energy, transport and infrastructure, agriculture and organics.
The Pacific Showcase stages
- Award winning chef, Robert Oliver (pictured), will hold cooking demonstrations to teach contemporary cuisine from across the South Pacific. Oliver’s book Me’a Kai – The Food and Flavours of the South Pacific won Best Cookbook in the World by the renowned French magazine Gourmand and was the cover feature in SPASIFIK’s May/June 2010 issue.
- Celebrated and emerging artists creating artworks including live tatau (tattoo), tivaevae and lei makers, weavers and painters.
- Performers from the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tahiti, Solomon Islands, and Tokelau delighting audiences with dance, drums, singing, storytelling and other musical performances.
- Twenty-four of the Pacific’s most innovative food producers sampling and selling gourmet gastronomic treats such as spices, coffee, chutneys and jams, honey, noni juice and tropical fruit.
- Fashion, jewellery, beauty, furniture and tourism experiences displaying and selling their wares.
- A spotlight on renewable energy, fisheries, business and infrastructure development in the region.
The Pacific Showcase dates and times are: Tuesday 6 September, from 10am to 5.30pm, Wednesday 7 September from 12noon – 8pm and Thursday 8 September from 10am to 4pm.
The Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) commissioned extensive independent research to find New Zealanders welcome the concept of a mark identifying premium Pacific products. PCF also found several niche markets are particularly receptive to Pacific products, including the fresh produce and shelf-stable food sectors as well as the natural beauty industry.
With growing dissatisfaction with the products of industrial mass production, and increasing demand worldwide for quality natural products – the True Pacific programme is designed to meet this demand by exporting products which reflect the region’s distinctive cultures, lands and communities while remaining true to their values.
Many of the products which bear the True Pacific mark will be on display at the Pacific Showcase. Goods carrying the True Pacific mark are authentically produced and meet high quality standards. By purchasing products with the True Pacific brand, you will also be supporting the communities from where they are produced, helping to create a sustainable export industry in the region.
Papua New Guinea
In the heart of Papua New Guinea’s Western Highlands, an entrepreneurial expatriate Australian is nurturing a unique coffee business. Based in the provincial capital of Mt Hangan, Patrick Killoran’s Banz Kofi produces a signature blend of freshly-roasted Arabica coffee.
According to Patrick, the Western Highlands’ high altitudes and relatively cool climate, are ideal for cultivating the internationally-prized Arabica beans.
“We wanted to prove top-quality coffee can be produced in Papua New Guinea. We’ve focused on perfecting our signature blend and, after 20 years, we think we’ve come pretty close,” Patrick says.
Patrick says the coffee has a buttery aroma with hints of chocolate and tropical spices, and an even sweeter taste.
The company selects top-quality beans from villagers throughout the province, who cultivate crops according to traditional methods, free from chemicals or sprays.
Villagers have cultivated Arabica coffee plants since the early 1950s and now produce more than 25,000 tonnes of raw beans for export each year, providing them with an important income source.
“We take a lot of pride in producing our coffee and are passionate about growing the local industry. The focus is always on maintaining quality and showing we can make unique premium products here, which in turn, support the many people who help to create them,” he says.
Fijian Indians on the island of Viti Levu are earning a living making an exotic array of Indian-inspired preserves and snacks, thanks to the help of not-for-profit organisation Friend - the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development.
Sashi Kiran created FRIEND in 2001 so rural people living in poverty could make a living from their horticultural and cooking skills.
Today FRIEND occupies five acres on Viti Levu and its food project provides work for around 500 people, from small-scale farmers who supply ingredients to the women who cook them.
For Sashi, the key to the organisation’s success is its community ownership.
“We believe social and economic advice go hand in hand. We help communities to address their major social issues first and then work with individuals and small groups to develop commercial opportunities,” she says.
Always keen to develop the range, FRIEND encourages locals interested in selling traditional gourmet foods to prepare samples, and provide training, mentoring and support for those who reach the development phase.
FRIEND also works with other disadvantaged groups – including at-risk youths, abandoned mothers and people with special needs – to produce handmade greeting cards and crafts.
The fashion label that has altered the fashion landscape in Samoa. With collections inspired by the lush land, seascape and their rich Samoan heritage Mena, infuse their elegant, sophisticated pieces with vibrant colours and bold organic prints.
The Loheni family business that began in 2002 was selected as Exporter of the Year at the 2010 MIT Pacific Business Awards, and now exports to across the Pacific and, most recently, into the Australian market.
“It’s exciting to be to given the opportunity to be part of the Pacific Showcase,” says director Agnes Loheni.
“Being able to put Mena out there to a huge global audience is big enough, but as a business owner I’m looking forward to meeting other successful Pacific business owners who have overcome the hurdles to be there as well.”
Cornelia Wyllie describes her life as a businesswoman in Vanuatu as a labour of love. The company she set up with her husband Don, Vanuatu Direct, is a thriving small business supplying gourmet food and beverages throughout Vanuatu and exporting to New Zealand. Its products include organic seafood, dairy products, bakery and deli foods.
The pair set up Vanuatu Direct in 2006 to enable their original business, Bob and Cornelia Wyllie Farm Operations, to focus on what it did best: cultivating fruit and vegetables the eco-friendly way.
Starting out in a single-room office, Vanuatu Direct initially sourced its stock almost entirely from the Wyllie’s farm. As demand increased, the pair sourced additional products from other local farmers and eventually from overseas suppliers as well.
“Our contract growers are selected for their ability to grow organic produce or make outstanding eco-friendly products. The flavours are naturally intense and don’t need any chemical enhancement,” she says.
“Quality control has always been of utmost importance to us and we’ve really been setting the standard.”
Convinced of the nourishing and curative benefits of many locally-grown botanicals, Cornelia would also like to help develop a Ni-Vanuatu natural health product.
Fofoloa Ltd – Tupu’anga Coffee
Tupu’anga Coffee harvests, roasts and packages its Arabica coffee beans entirely in the Kingdom of Tonga, supplying its distinctly flavoured coffee to local cafes and resorts, and exporting to New Zealand and Australia. Tupu means to grow up, spring up or come into existence. Anga means character and customs. Combined, Tupu’anga is to “Grow from your roots”.
The business is owned and operated by local Alipate Mafile’o and his wife Emeline and raises funds for Affirming Works, a south Auckland social service agency which Emeline owned and operated, which provides Pacific mentoring to more than 300 youth to help them into tertiary studies and jobs. “I have grown up in this community in Tonga,” says Alipate. “Now, with Tupu’anga Coffee, we can return here and give something back to our friends and neighbours and continue to support our mentoring programmes in south Auckland.”
Avaiki - Cook Island Pearls
Avaiki Pearls are selectively harvested from the clear lagoon depths of Manihiki, Rakahanga and Tongareva (Penrhyn) in the Cook Islands. Nature's cleverness captures the rich lagoon colours and transforms them into a profusion of green, blue, purple and silver-hued pearls.
When Graeme Thorpe and Barry Ladewig met in 1997 they bonded over their passion for Fiji and vision to tap its unrealised potential as an exporter of fresh tropical produce. Both living in Fiji, but originally from Australia, the pair combined forces to grow and export premium-quality ginger and papaya. Today their company, Produce Specialties, is Fiji’s largest papaya grower and exporter. With commercial farms in Nadi and Sigatoka and a network of contract farmers throughout the island of Viti Levu, Produce Specialties is the country’s sole exporter of Sunrise Solo (Fiji Red) papaya.
Developed at the University of Hawaii, the variety is characterised by its vivid orange-red skin and flesh, sweet, musky flavour and convenient single-serve size.
Dubbed by Christopher Columbus as ‘the fruit of the angels’, papaya is not only delicious but also a nutritional powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. Fiji Red is the only variety that contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant with many health benefits.
Apia Bottling Company Ltd - Hot Samoan Boy Chilli Sauce
The Apia Bottling Company Ltd is one of Samoa's longstanding business establishment, which has been producing chilli sauces and minced chilli for nearly thirty years, run by General Manager Papali’i John Ryan. With a surplus of chillis in Samoa, Stella Muller, who worked for PCF as Project Manager to help establish True Pacific, decided to walk the walk by going into business to launch Hot Samoan Boys Chilli Sauce into the New Zealand market.
“In my time at PCF I often felt that if an enterprise could grow things well then value add, the next thing to address is their marketing. Hot Samoan Boys started off as bit of a joke, but the feedback I had was that the name gave it personality. We’re redefining the term by saying you’re hot if you’re a man of the land, using the resources wisely, using your talent. It’s about activity and attitude, that endearing Samoan and Pacific spirit. Being hot in a good looking way is a bonus.”
Hot Samoan Boys is made with 100% village grown birds eye chillis, processed into a 100% non-blended sauce in Samoa.
“The story is really about Papali’i John Ryan honouring a promise to local growers.”
Tanna Coffee Development
The 100% organic coffee is often touted as among the purest in the world. Around 500 local farmers throughout the island cultivate the crops, growing more than 350,000 coffee trees on over 400 hec¬tares of land. It is the brew of choice in most of Vanuatu’s cafes and restaurants and is served on the national airline, Air Vanuatu. It’s also exported to neighbouring Pacific Island nations as well as to New Zealand, Australia, the US, Taiwan and Japan.
Okaioceankart is the home of contemporary artists from the Pacific and Oceania. A place to discover emerging and established visual artists with diverse Pacific stories grounded in rich Polynesian and Melanesian cultural heritages.
Pacific Green is a furniture manufacturer located in Fiji that exclusively uses sustainably harvested Palmwood to create gorgeous contemporary pieces, inspired by the indigenous designs of the South Pacific.
Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community
POETCom is the ‘governance’ body of the organics movement in the Pacific, advocating on the international stage on behalf of the Pacific. Members include organic farmers, farmer organisations, traders, Governments, academic and research institutions, Non Government Organisations, private sector businesses and regional technical support agencies.
Pure Fiji provides natural bath and body products to the exclusive spa and salon industry. Pure Fiji utilise botanical benefits, herbal curatives, and remedies that have been employed by the Fijian people for hundreds of years, and embodying the beauty of the Pacific using practices that protect the natural environment.
Nishi Trading Company Ltd
Operating in Tonga for over 30 years, Nishi Trading is a commercial farming operation, exporting and importing fresh fruits and vegetables. The company also operates a manufacturing plant and retail outlet for farming supplies, and is Tonga’s biggest exporter of squash to Japan and Korea.
Venui Vanilla is a certified organic company producing vanilla, pepper, ginger, turmeric and chilli. Venui cultivates spices in Vanuatu using a special curing process developed by owner Piero Bianchessi, one of the Pacific Islands’ most respected spice experts.
Women in Business Development Inc
Women In Business Development Incorporated (WIBDI) works with rural and vulnerable families throughout Samoa to produce a variety of organic foods and crafts. It’s products, which include virgin coconut oil, cocoa, coffee, honey, fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices.
Punja and Sons Ltd
Founded in 1935, Punja and Sons Limited, is today one of the largest privately-owned companies in the South Pacific, employing over 800 people. Punja’s manufacture, market and distribute a selection of foods, beverages and other consumer goods throughout the Pacific Islands and to New Zealand and Australia.
Reunion Food Company - Heilala Vanilla
From humble beginnings in a remote Tongan village, Heilala Vanilla is one of the Pacific’s fastest rising culinary stars. The award-winning Tauranga-based company’s organic vanilla products have a large fan-base in New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore and they are building a profile in the USA.
Fiji Spice Gardens
Based on 90-hectares on the island of Viti Levu, today Spices of Fiji is the base for a nationwide network of small-scale farmers. Together they produce an array of certified organic spices, including vanilla, nutmeg and turmeric, for local and overseas markets.
Lapita Café is an innovative and fast-growing food manufacturing and catering company based in Vanuatu’s capital, Port Vila. It is renowned throughout the republic for its traditional-style meals and snacks, including baked chips and gluten-free cookies.
Natural Foods International
From its beginnings 50 years ago as an agro-based manufacturing company Samoa Natural Foods International produces a range of breadfruit chips, as well as taro, banana and cassava chips. Extremely popular in Samoa these delicious snacks are now also exported to New Zealand and Australia.
Artists and Performers
An emerging artist whose works bring together the beautiful designs of the Solomon kapkap adornments. Based in New Zealand, much of Ellie's work documents her urban migration from the Solomons and evokes positive messages of cultural survival.
Dagmar Vaikalafi Dyck
Dagmar Dyck is an award winning painter and printmaker of Tongan-German descent. Her work is an expression of her identity and heritage as a Tongan German New Zealander, and is inspired by the Pacific artefacts collected by European traders and settlers in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Contemporary Pacific artist Fatu Feu'u has been seen as the leader of contemporary Pacific arts for many years. Fatu's work records his personal responses and interpretations of oral histories, myths, stories, songs, traditions and political events in and about Samoa.
Her paintings are windows into the beautiful Cook Islands. The fragrances of the hibiscus and tiare exude from her lush colour work. Born and raised in New Zealand the flowers represent her connection to her homeland.
An internationally recognised Samoan Tatau artist. More than a mark or a social trend, Tatau is an honoured tradition interwoven into the cultures of the Pacific Islanders, and is the Samoan word that contributed to the word tattoo we use today.
Dorothy has more than 20 years experience weaving bilums and baskets. A common craft in Papua New Guinea for hundreds of years, billums traditionally functioned as containers for carrying and storing food from the gardens, but is now an art form in its own right.
Niuean, Sina Panama and her group have been making and selling lei in the Mangere markets for many years.
An emerging self-taught artist from Niue who in draws in Niue’s unique hiapo barkcloth style.
Tania Maru sells and exhibits a range of Tivaivai. Tivaivai are ceremonial cloths, similar to cotton quilts, and considered the most important art and craft skill still practiced in the Cook Islands. Tivaivai are the most valued treasure in every household and are used in functions such as baptisms, hair cutting ceremonies, weddings, and the unveiling of headstones.
Tatau Dance Group
A dynamic and exciting Samoan dance group renowned for their highenergy and fast-paced performances.
Narasirato Pan Pipers
The Narasirato Are’are Pan Pipers come from neighbouring villages situated on the lagoon of West Are’are, South Malaita, Solomon Islands, where most of the pan pipe tunes and melodies are derived.
MBrace Pacific Dance
A multicultural dance group with a vision to create and promote the vibrant yet graceful flavours of the South Seas through the movement of dance and performing arts.
Taume Dance Group
Tahiti La Ora Dance Group
The professional group’s passion is to showcase the Tahitian culture through traditional song (aparima) and dance (o’tea) using authentic instruments (to’ere, pahu and ukulele).
Ta’akoka Dance Troupe
Having toured extensively through Europe and North America Ta’akoka has also representing the Cook Islands at a number of South Pacific Arts Festivals and New Zealand’s Pasifika.
The exhibitors also include a tourist organisations and many more businesses. For the full programme go to pacificshowcase.co.nz