L-R: Jackie Loheni, (MENA), Tomasi Ofa (Digicel), Gretel Toleafora Tongan Business Network, Gina Loheni (MENA)

Strengthening trade and business relationships between Samoa and New Zealand was the key objective at The New Zealand Samoa Trade & Investment Commission (NZSTIC) and Samoa Business Network’s Independence Day Business Networking Event held recently at the Fale o Samoa in Mangere, Auckland. 

The event was well attended by members of Samoa Business Network and NZSTIC, Community Leaders, Samoan and Pacific business owners, and professionals.

The event’s focus was to build stronger connections between Samoan based and NZ based Samoan businesses. The official welcome which was delivered by SBN NZ Chair Laura Keil-Hall and NZSTIC Chairman Frank Po-Ching set the scene and theme of the event.

Leaupepe Talai Lene checking out the My Rivr App Business Stall
Magele Maliliu Magele_Samoa Trade Commisioner

The event was also an opportunity to introduce the new Samoa Trade Commissioner, Magele Maliliu Magele, who was also the key note speaker.  Magele shared the story about his appointment by the Prime Minister, who told him the role would require “common sense” and also challenged him to bring more business opportunities to Samoa.  

He also highlighted some of the key milestones Samoa trade has achieved to date, in terms of reviving taro exports to New Zealand, introducing frozen breadfruit chips to the New Zealand market, and the continued success of the RSE scheme in supporting the skill shortage in NZ in the agriculture and construction industries.  

Magele will be working closely with NZSTIC & Samoa Business Network and their key stakeholders, and business connections, to enhance existing business relationships and find opportunities to bring new business connections to Samoa.


Event Speakers Moananu Tyrone Laurenson, David Wong Tung and Magele Maliliu Magele


Business Stallholder 7e System
Samoa Tag Incorporated Executive Committee with SBN Executive Members Tuala Matthew Vaea_CEO SASNOC_Akerei Thompson CEO MyRivR App

Special guests from Samoa included, Tuala Matthew Vaea, CEO of SASNOC and the Samoa Tag Incorporated Executive team led by President Fa’aofonu’u Junior Leota.  Samoa Tag Incorporated are in New Zealand to promote their upcoming international Teuila Tag tournament in September. Tuala spoke on behalf of the group, about the important contribution of sports and sporting events to economic development and business in the Pacific Islands.  

The formalities concluded with Afamasaga Jackie Curry, Chair of SBN Samoa, sharing the new strategic direction, goals and activities of Samoa Business Network for 2018-2019 including the delivery of a Fashion & Sewing Workshop in Samoa, to develop professional local machinists and support the demand from the thriving Samoa Fashion Industry for sewing services to deliver their orders, domestically & internationally.  This project will be delivered in partnership with Sewtech Training Academy & our Fashion Industry Representative & International Samoan Fashion Designer, Cecilia Keil.

Hinemoa Key Director_RISE2025, Afamasaga_Tuuú Kalala, Mary Autagavaia Director Epiphany Trust, Laura Keil-Hall, SBN Chairwoman, Rachel Petero Director RISE2025

She also concluded the formalities with a reflection on the importance of working together as Samoans based overseas to give back to our country.  

“E lele le toloa ae maau lava I le vai”: Wherever Samoans venture in the world, they will always return home. This is the spirit of the Samoa Business Network – to give back to our country through facilitating new business opportunities and tapping into the professional expertise and experience of our global Samoan business and professional community.  

A Cocktail ‘Mix & Mingle’ for attendees to network and make new connections proved successful with the exchange of plenty business cards and conversation. 




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