The Pacific Business Trust’s inaugural HATCH cohort celebrated the first year of the programme while welcoming the 2019 intake in style at the spectacular Grounds Eatery in Henderson, West Auckland. Combining it with the Trust’s Christmas event, guests dressed for the occasion and gave the incoming recipients a glimpse of the opportunities open to them.
“It has been an amazing year for the first cohort, and great to see so many celebrating it together,” says PBT CEO Kim Tuaine.
“There are others who aren’t here because they’re in locations around the world doing fantastic things in Europe and Asia, including taking action against climate change internationally and in our own Pacific region as well. These young Pacific people have the drive and foresight to not only be committed to business, but to their local and global communities as well.”
Kim also paid tribute to the partners contributing to the HATCH programme, including the Mahuki team from Te Papa, Massey University, Xero, Creative NZ, Fafswag, Tagata Pasifika and the many individual experts who gave, and are still giving, their time towards it. A new partnership joining HATCH is the North Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence, which was established earlier this year and is committed to helping New Zealand build sustainable, future-focused trade relationships with Greater China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan), Japan, and Korea. HATCH has also received support to send its first cohort to Taiwan in January.
“The purpose of the journey is to open our cohorts’ eyes to the cultural connection with Taiwan, learn the language and engage with business people so they can gain confidence when tackling the global marketplace, and eventually be anything they want to be.”
This sentiment was echoed by the Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio, who took a leave from Parliament to attend. In his address, he commended PBT’s innovative work in the space, especially with HATCH.
He recalled the recent The New Zealand Pacific Economy report highlighting the significant economic contribution of $8 billion made by Pacific New Zealanders and businesses to New Zealand’s economy despite the inequalities that exist in health, housing, education, employment and incomes.
“Now imagine the kind of contribution we can make for our families, our community and for Aotearoa, our new home, if we eliminated all those barriers,” he said.
“HATCH is helping to eliminate these barriers by enabling young Pacific entrepreneurs to transform their innovative ideas into commercial realities.”
Speaking as an inaugural HATCH recipient, Benji Timu of No Six describes the advice given by Kim and her team of mentors as an “invaluable wake-up call”.
“We arrived thinking that, as Pacific Island business-owners, we were the bomb,” Benji recalls.
“But when Kim was asking us about our plans and our systems, it really exposed our weaknesses and forced us into having a discussion as to what our actual purpose was about. That, and the 12 weeks of masterclasses which had our brains feeling like they had expanded mentally, was massive. We’ve set high standards and we’re excited about proving what we’re capable of next.”
Tim Swann, Business Strategist and outgoing Virtual CEO of Hatch paid tribute to Hatch and the teams going forward:
“We have a stream of young Pacific people wanting to do business and wanting to carry our communities forward. We have growing networks, experience, talent and potential. To the many Pacific leaders who have attended this special night, I ask you to open your networks and give generously without expectation of something in return, enabling our participants to move forward and thrive.”
PBT chair Fa’amatuainu (Inu) Tino Pereira says 2018 has been a significant year for the trust, now in its 33rd year, including staging the National Pacific Business Trust Awards at Eden Park in June and the stunning success of the HATCH programme.
“This year we have been witness to significant and transformative paths across the digital highway in which our people are becoming increasingly engaged in, displaying a greater entrepreneurial feature of our community,” he says.
“We’re building the type of foundation we’ve always talked about, which is creating great feedback for the Trust. A lot of the credit has to go to our board, who have been courageous in allowing and supporting the transformation to happen.”