Today I had the opportunity to attend the ‘New Dawn’ Pacific Social Enterprise Summit, courtesy of our Pacific Business Trust who was able to sponsor myself as Director of Pacific Hibiscus and other Pasifika businesses, or social enterprises, NGOs (Non-Government Organisations), creatives, community organisations or groups etc. to their inaugural summit towards encouraging more Social enterprises as a new direction forward for the Trust.

This is very exciting going forward for our communities. A couple of months ago when I first saw the ads, I must admit that I didn’t really read it closely enough and thought that I wouldn’t have the time or inclination to attend but upon reading the fine print, I realized that it was something that I was already doing (informally) and wanted to know more about formalizing the social enterprise side of our business.

John Pulu (Tongan) of ‘Tagata Pasifika’ (TV presenter) was the MC Master of Ceremonies for the day and day started with a Pasifika solo dance performance and then Ps Lui Ponifasio (Samoan) shared some reflections opening prayer for the commencement of the summit.

Faamatuainu Tino Pereira (Samoan/Pasifika business leader) started discussions with Hon. Aupito William Sio (Samoan/Minister for Pacific Peoples) adding his perspective from a governmental point of view. A global perspective of Social Enterprises was shared by Tara Singh, US speaker (Founding Chair of NEXUS) and Leata Alaimoana-Roberts (Samoan) discussed her work in Australia with Impact investments and the role social enterprises in the Pacific region.

At home, in New Zealand, Helene Malandain (French) discussed the work that her organization of Akina Foundation was doing in different regions. As a result, I found out that generally speaking, S.E. or Social Enterprise / Social Entrepreneurs were about businesses or organizations doing good in their communities and caring about the community wellbeing, sustainability, the environment etc.

It was great to see the work of a neat Christian couple: Emeline and Alipate Mafile’o (Tongan) who have done some neat work within our Pasifika communities with the mentoring programmes of Affirming Works and most recently Tupuanga Coffee and several Community Cafes scattered all around Auckland eg. Otahuhu Train station, Mangere Arts centre, etc.

There were many more speakers at breakout panels representing:

  1. Creative and Cultural
  2. Social and Health
  3. Finance, Employment and Tech
  4. Environment and Sustainability

Now looking forward visiting the Pacific Business Trust in the new future with its new vision of encouraging a Social Enterprising movement amongst our Pasifika businesses and organizations with a vision of supporting and caring for our people…

Picture credit: Pacific Business Trust