Time flies by when you are enjoying the challenge of establishing a new venture like PEN.
It was 13 June 2013 that a group of 15 Pacific exporters and supporters met at the Greenman Pub in Victoria Street, Wellington to discuss the merits of setting up a local network to support existing and new Pacific exporters.
Much has happened in a year. The Pacific Exporters' Network (PEN) has become active in promoting its vision to play a constructive role in doubling exports to Pacific Island countries by 2018.
In its first year 8 events have been held. Some of these were to gain input into the direction PEN should pursue. Others hosted speakers including the Hon Tim Groser, ex diplomat Gerald McGhie, John Hays MP and recently Prime Minister's Fellow, Aloma Johansson.
Representations have been made to Ministers on identified barriers that inhibit Pacific trade, a web presence has been established and a significant supporting sponsor secured (Minter Ellison Rudd Watts – Lawyers).
We have 20 paid up members and another 30 supporters who want to be involved with us in some way. Already a companion Pacific group - the NZ Hawaii Business Association - has been recently established under Robyn Bartram. We plan to work in close association with this group.
We realise that we have made a beginning only and much is still to be accomplished before we are fully recognised as a group capable of accelerating Pacific export growth. Steps are continuously being made to improve PEN's performance and we believe these steps will make a major difference to PEN's prospects in the next year.
There are many people who have played constructive roles in PEN's first year but credit must be given to our members and those supporters who always turn up for our events. Without this PEN would not have got to where it is today.