Report – By Elesha Edmonds
A trade exhibition centre, permanently displaying Samoan-made export products, has been unveiled in Auckland with hopes it will increase Samoa’s trading presence in New Zealand.
Samoa’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo, officially launched the “Buy Samoa Made” exhibition at the Samoa house in Auckland.
More than 60 people attended the unveiling of the exhibition yesterday which will permanently showcase Samoan products, including wine, chocolate and coconut creams.
“This is crucial, not only because Samoan producers and exporters are now internationally certified to meet the requirements of the export markets, but it also has the effect of raising consumer confidence in Samoan-made goods and services,” he said.
The trade exhibition was established by the Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters (SAME) after the success of the association’s “Buy Samoa Made” Trade Show in November last year.
SAME president Tagaloa Eddie Wilson said the aim of the exhibition was to bring together retailers and distributors and increase opportunities for exports between New Zealand and Samoa.
“The exhibition centre is to create that public awareness of those goods and services that are now readily available for the New Zealand market,” he said.
Samoa’s Auckland-based Trade Commissioner, Dr Lafitai Iupati Fuatai, said the exhibition would expose new products to the New Zealand market.
“We are exposing the quality of Samoan products… firstly to our Samoan communities and then to our business partners and then to the New Zealand public,” he said.
The launch also coincided with the unveiling of SAME’s new Samoa-New Zealand Business Council.
Wilson said the council was established to facilitate trade between the two countries.
“What we are trying to do now is work closely with our importers in New Zealand,” he said.
“This council is basically our eyes and ears in New Zealand to look at trying to promote ‘Buy Samoa Made’ and also identify issues and look at how we can address them.”
The “Buy Samoa Made” exhibition will be located inside the Consular Office of the Samoa House in Auckland.
Elesha Edmonds is a BCS (Honours) student journalist on the Asia-Pacific Journalism course at AUT University.