Market for south Auckland's Pasifika community

South Auckland’s Pasifika community has established a “Pasifika Friday Market” project to help the community and businesses rebuild amid the challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

The market is part of "Project Recovery", a Pacific-community-led initiative coordinated by the ASA Foundation, a south Auckland charity.

The foundation aims to address the social and economic needs of Pacific communities in south Auckland in the wake of the pandemic. 

The Chairman of the Pacific Leadership Forum, Teleiai Edwin Puni, told the Samoa Observer that the pandemic had significantly impacted the south Pacific community. 

“Many of the businesses that employed our people, like Auckland Airport, had to lay off most staff, others like retail and hospitality have lost staff because of the ongoing lockdowns,” Teleiai said via email. 

“Many of our people want to work instead of being on [Government benefits]. So we have to look at other ways to earn a living.”

He said initial plans for the markets are for it to be held over 3 to 6 months every Friday at the Manurewa Netball Facility. But there are plans in motion to move the market to a second warehouse where it can operate seven days a week.

The initiative has been staged with the help of supporting partner organisations, Government agencies, service providers, and businesses.

Teleiai said Samoan businesses part of the market include local company Maketi Samoa which imports Samoan frozen taro, ulu, taamu, esi, koko Samoa & masipopo.

Another Samoan business, Beauty Queen by Esther, seeks to import Samoan fashions such as its Head-To-Toe range, Samoa Lokostyle and others.

Plans for the upgraded market include an indoor area to support community fundraisers, start-up social enterprises and provide space for struggling businesses. 

The markets cater to a Pacific niche and focus on food, produce,  clothing and handicrafts from across the region. 

The market also provides COVID-19 assistance for individuals, families, churches and community groups, with information desks staffed by referral agencies fluent in Pacific languages. 

“[The market] offers an opportunity to assist Samoa with export and struggling local businesses to sell their products in New Zealand,” he said.

Plans for the market include for it to serve as an area for public consultation on COVID-19-related issues such as Government assistance, economic and social developments, and recovery options for affected businesses.

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