Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Waikato region celebrates Pacific Business excellence with inaugural event

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Avatar photo
Gladys Hartson | Senior Journalist

Members of the Waikato Pacific business community, local body representatives and members of the Tongan Royal family came together in Hamilton earlier this month to celebrate Pacific business excellence.

The inaugural event, held at the Ka’ute Pasifika Village Fale, and hosted by the Waikato Pacific Business Network, recognised the success stories, innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit that have contributed to the growth and prosperity of the Waikato region and the New Zealand economy.

Chairperson for Waikato Pasifika Business Network, Rachel Afeaki-Taumoepeau, is ecstatic and humbled by the support and love the community has shown for Pasifika businesses in Waikato.

“Our Pasifika communities want a desire to come and celebrate Pasifika, and I think for a very long time we’ve been invisible in the private sector and in businesses and entrepreneurship, but our Pasifika people are starting to shine and it’s wonderful to see mainstream businesses of the Waikato support the vision and the heart of the WPBN.”

Namulauulu Lale Ieremia – Board Chair of Ka’ute Pasifika. Photo: Gladys Hartson – Tagata Pasifika.

Board Chair for Ka’ute Pasifika Namulauulu Lale Ieremia, is encouraged to see the growth of Pacific people entering the business sector. He says he is hoping to see the Pasifika community find a different opportunity in the region.

“It is an opportunity for us to celebrate the businesses that contribute to share the aspiration with the new businesses, new owners that are starting to come through to give them foresight into what we might be able to achieve in the future together.”

Of Cook Island heritage, Grace Ratima of Tokoroa and creator of ACIE Designs, received the Waikato Pacific Business Excellence Young Entrepreneur. She attributes her creations to her grandmother.

Grace Fatima (pictured with her award) of Tokoroa and creator of ACIE Designs with her whanau and friends. Photo: Gladys Hartson – Tagata Pasifika.

“She is very creative with her Tivaevaes and she’s the one who taught us everything we know about our cultures so through her creative I guess ways I have adapted that to a whole new modern style.”

Grace encourages young people who are keen to get into business to take the plunge.

“Show up, whether it’s for your business, for your family, for yourself. You know the saying goes ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ so always show up. Don’t let the fear of judgement or failure change what you’re going to do.”

Joshua Pala Young pictured with his award. Photo: Gladys Hartson – Tagata Pasifika.

Joshua Pala Young from JP Landscaping Ltd was one of three recipients of the Excellence Award in Construction and Trade. Of Samoan heritage, Josh says the inspiration for his business was to make a difference in the lives of his struggling peers.

“It’s actually seeing everyone back in school not getting anywhere and seeing them go to prison, back into drugs and I wanted to start my open business to support everyone that is coming out of school and giving them an opportunity and giving back to our country in Samoa by opening like a landscaping construction in Samoa and giving that as a trade in Samoa.”

Chairperson Rachel Afeaki-Taumopeau says it is the start of something special and more Pacific businesses and entrepreneurs are making their mark in Aotearoa.

“Many people have been reminded of what our parents and grandparents did when they came to NZ in the hope that they would see their children and their children’s children work hard, be successful and give back to our communities.”

Seven categories recognised social enterprise, construction and trade entrepreneurs and young entrepreneurs, leadership in the marketplace, women in business, international business and the legacy award.

Congratulations to the Waikato Pacific Business Excellence Recipients 2023

Josh Stowers – Mixmaster
Robbie & Jacina Stapleton – Your Local House Wash & Pest Control Hamilton
Pivot Bail Accommodation Ltd
Talents of the Pacific Academy
Deep Dive Division
Grace Ratima – ACIE Designs
JP Landscaping Ltd
TJ Brothers Construction Ltd
Waikato Shutters & Blinds Ltd
Felila Asiata-Feausi – Oyonxx Ltd
Ray Allen
Meleane Burgess – Dynamic Advisory Ltd
Taimaaiono Grace Stowers – Hartson Stowers Law
Nanise Ginnen – Impact Hub Waikato
LT8 Design & Fabrication Ltd
Surgeons on Clarence

Legacy Award – Meta Tyrell

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *