“How showcasing Pacific Businesses showed us the way forward”
Friday 22nd June – an ordinary day in my calendar but an extraordinary occasion.
Coming out of the lift and passing the coat check, music can be heard coming from around the corner. Waiters and waitresses roam the room supplying beverages to the near 600 people in attendance. Roundtables filled the main hall. Giant screens plastered the walls. The camera crew and photographers watch from afar as the guests mingle. Inaudible chatter blends seamlessly with the background music, a new smile beaming with every clink of a glass. Beautiful plants, chocolate kisses, and fairy lights complete the paradisiacal vibe. A conch shell blows and beckons us to our seats… the show is about to start.
And what a show it was….
The show starts with attention-grabbing performances across three screens, two cameras, and one main stage. You can’t help but be mesmerized by the energetic movements and the soothing tones of the cultural artists. Including cultural performers Ura Tabu, the angelic Auckland Gospel Choir and the charismatic Malaysian bagpipe players, Tim and Daniel Chia, the room bore witness to piercing Pacific sound and eye-popping performance.
Supplementing the atmosphere and décor was the taste of the Pacific menu led by chef James Raukete. This Pacific cuisine, refined with the tools of modern cookery, strutted its Pacific flair with gusto. Whether it was Crab and Takihi Salad, Toa Vakaloka or Coconut and Malibu Truffles, all of it were masterfully prepared and delivered. Nostalgia and reconnection seeped through every bite as our souls were fed with the taste of homecoming.
(Main Course 1: Ika Mata, Pawpaw Shooter, Crab & Takihi Salad)
The night flowed smoothly thanks to the quick-witted Daniel Faitaua and the multi-talented Koi boys. Unlike the regular Sunday to’onai, there was no ‘island time’. The awards flowed well, with presenters and award winners speaking humbly and concisely. What shone through with every speech was two things:
1) The struggle and sacrifice these Pacific business owners had made to carve out their place in the world like The Food Company NZ were indeed praiseworthy.
2) The ethos of getting out of a tough situation, turning back and helping someone else out of a tough situation was prominent as displayed by Kokiti Workshops and Jitel Contracting.
The Pacific Business Trust Awards was a much-needed breath of fresh air. It was the acknowledgment of the past and celebration of our future. Yes, it put the spotlight on Pacific Businesses around the country. Yes, it united Pacific businesses, leaders, and communities to get behind one another. More importantly, it showed us the way forward…
…The way forward is TOGETHER…
…UNITED in excellence, striving for quality and embracing the values that separate us from the rest of the world.
(Jaemen and his partner Cazna)