More than 70 delegates from all over the Pacific were officially welcomed onto Te Mahurehure Marae in Auckland. They say New Zealand trade with the Pacific needs to be corrected.
Auckland University Business School's Dr Manuka Henare says, "The trade with the Pacific is a growing trade and one of the problems we have is that it's a bit one way. So we sell more to the Pacific than we buy from the Pacific and that's something we have to correct because there's an imbalance in trade."
Twenty-eight companies from all over the Pacific are part of the 'Pacific Path to Market' programme to test their products in the New Zealand market.
According to the Ministry of Foreign and Trade, in 2013 New Zealand exported goods worth $1.368bil to the Pacific and $103mil were imported from the Pacific.
"So anything we can do, or anything Australia and other countries on the Pacific Rim can do to enhance the quality of the island economies is good for the whole region. So these sort of events are opportunities of getting to know each other and also their commodities, what goods and things they've got available and what are the next kaupapa for the coming five, ten, twenty years."
Chairman of the New Zealand Papua New Guinea Business Council Tamati Norman says $187mil of New Zealand export was injected into Papua New Guinea last year.
"There is so much more potential for business between Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and the Pacific as a whole."
Norman says, "We are as a collective of people that sailed and migrated and our boundaries are only cut off by America, Japan, Mexico, California, that is where the Pacific is and if we as Māori as the Pacific can work together to actually reach out into that, there is our opportunity. We stand collectively then there's that much strength."
Tomorrow, businesses from Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Palau and The Republic of The Marshall Islands will be attending the annual Pasifika event.