How do Pacific businesses overcome challenges in New Zealand?

Entrepreneurship, while an exciting and rewarding path, is uniquely demanding for Pacific Islander small business owners in New Zealand. This blog delves into the specific challenges you face and explores practical strategies to navigate them, transforming them into opportunities for success.

Challenges and Solutions:

1. Limited Access to Capital:

Pacific Islander small enterprises frequently encounter difficulties in accessing the capital necessary for growth and sustainability. The challenge lies in securing financial support to invest in operations, marketing, and overall business expansion. Financing your dreams can be tough, but there are options!

  • Government Grants: Explore schemes like the Māori and Pasifika Business Growth Fund or the Regional Community Enterprise Fund.
  • Funding Programs: Look into initiatives like the Pacific Business Trust Loans or the South Pacific Business Loan.
  • Local Financial Institutions: Build relationships with banks like ANZ or Westpac, which offer dedicated support for Pasifika businesses.
  • Business Support Organizations: HTK Group, provides invaluable financial assistance and mentorship programs for both small businesses and startups.

2. Cultural Barriers:

Navigating a business culture that differs from one’s own poses a unique set of challenges. Pacific Islander entrepreneurs may find it challenging to integrate their cultural values and practices into the wider business environment. To overcome these barriers, seeking mentorship from successful business owners within the community and engaging in networking events become pivotal. This fosters cultural understanding, allowing entrepreneurs to leverage their cultural diversity as a unique strength in the market. Embrace your heritage, leverage it as your strength! Consider the following:

  • Mentorship: Seek guidance from successful Pasifika business owners like Afa Ah Loo, or Paul Retimanu.
  • Networking Events: Connect with organizations like the Pacific Business Collectives, Pasifika Business Network, Pasifika Business Referral Hub or attend events like the Pasifika Festivals including Polyfest.
  • Cultural Understanding: Share your values and practices authentically, fostering appreciation and building trust with customers.

3. Limited Business Education:

Knowledge is power! Equip yourself for success. A lack of access to business education and training programs can hinder the development of Pacific Islander small enterprises. The challenge lies in acquiring the essential skills and knowledge required for successful entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs can address this by actively seeking workshops, seminars, and online courses that focus on crucial business aspects.

  • Workshops and Seminars: Attend programs offered by organizations like NZTE or the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
  • Online Courses: Pasifika Business Advisory offers affordable courses provided by experts in their fields through their mobile app on business fundamentals and marketing. Download their mobile app through Google Play or App Store
  • Mentorship: Learn from experienced professionals through programs like the Pasifika Leadership & Governance Programme.
  • Business Support Organizations: Utilize resources and training programs from organizations like the Pacific Business Trust or the Māori and Pasifika Business Coalition.

4. Marketing and Visibility:

Stand out from the crowd, make your voice heard!

  • Social Media: Utilize platforms like Facebook and Instagram to connect with your community and showcase your offerings.
  • Collaborations: Partner with other Pasifika businesses for joint marketing campaigns or events.
  • Website and SEO: Invest in a user-friendly website optimised for search engines to reach wider audiences. Consider Pasifika Business Advisory for marketing projects, they have the expertise in market research for creating copies and content to incorporate building websites and brands to reflect the unique values of Pacific businesses. Majority of website developer and designs do not take consideration of brand identity, culture and values into website projects, so its important to be wise in choosing Pacific marketers who can relate and incorporate those unique values to your brand.
  • Community Engagement: Participate in local markets, festivals, and events to build brand awareness and connections.

5. Community Engagement:

Your community is your foundation, build strong relationships!

  • Community Events and Festivals: Sponsor or participate in events like the Pasifika Youth Festival or the Polyfest.
  • Local Organizations: Partner with groups like the Pasifika Women in Business or the South Auckland Business Association.
  • Community Initiatives: Support local causes and offer special promotions to local customers.

6. Regulatory Compliance:

Stay informed, stay compliant, stay on track!

  • Business Advisors and Legal Professionals: Seek guidance from experts who understand the specific regulations affecting Pasifika businesses.
  • Business Associations and Chambers of Commerce: Join organizations like the Pasifika Business Network or the Auckland Chamber of Commerce for updates and support.
  • Government Resources: Utilize online resources provided by MBIE and the Inland Revenue Department to stay current with regulations.


The entrepreneurial journey for Pacific Islanders in New Zealand is paved with challenges, but also brimming with opportunities. By actively addressing these challenges through strategic planning, cultural awareness, and community engagement, you can build a resilient and thriving business that contributes not only to your own success but also to the vibrant tapestry of New Zealand’s business landscape.

Remember, you are not alone! Utilize the resources and support available from the organizations and initiatives mentioned throughout this blog.

Kia kaha! (Stay strong!)

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