The WE Trade Summit 2023 was one like no other. Two days of Trade Summit before two days of Business Summit saw people from Aotearoa, Australia, Fiji and Samoa come together to learn, grow, collaborate and form partnerships.
Day 1 started at Samoa Tourism Authority with an Ava Ceremony, and a formal welcome from the Honorable lou Afioga Leatinuu Wayne Fong, Minister of Commerce, Industry & Labour followed by a site tour that included a selection of small businesses from SAME selling their products, Carving and Tatau demonstrations and an Umu which was laid down for us to view and then enjoy.
Following on from STA were a series of five site visits to local established businesses.
The site visits were an opportunity to share the innovations happening in Samoa, but also some of the challenges faced. Some of the topics that were raised were:
- Impact of the workers leaving Samoa to take up seasonal work in New Zealand and Australia.
- Funding innovation and growth to service growing markets
- Keeping up with the demand and exporting overseas
- The on Island skills and expertise for specialised roles
- Bringing on Island specialised equipment and the time that it now takes, which can halt or reduce production
While there were challenges shared, there were also some incredible innovations shared and partnerships made between Samoan and overseas businesses. Some of these included:
- NZ Famers and growers connecting with Samoan farmers and growers to talk about innovation and training opportunities
- Discussions on RSE workers coming back to Samoa to work on local farms and share their learnings and expertise
- The advancement of technologies in Samoa that will be useful for businesses in NZ
- Potential job sharing of high skilled staff across both NZ and Samoa
It was a full and productive day for the delegation and the local Samoan businesses that we visited and interacted with.
Day 2 saw the delegation in Poutasi Village for a series of ceremonies, including the Investiture of Title upon le Afioga To'osavili Sandra Hazlehurst , Mayor of Hastings District Council. Alongside the Investiture also saw the signing of three agreements:
- Hastings District Council with Falealili District
- Ngāti Kahungunu with Poutasi Village
- WE Mana with Poutasi Development Trust
Day two was an opportunity to make meaningful relationships and put actions into place, for the betterment of ALL parties present and communities represented. Discussions were had at Sinalei Resort where Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale shared his vision, where the challenges were and what opportunities there were for the parties sitting at the table. The challenge has been placed on the table to be able to share outcomes in 12 months time as a stepping stone towards better outcomes for all.
Thank you to our sponsors and supporters who helped to make the WE Summit 2023 a success!