NEW ZEALAND BUSINESSES MAY MENTOR TONGA COUNTERPARTS

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Whale watching tour operators could benefit

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 20, 2009) – The New Zealand and the Tonga Governments intend exploring joint ventures under which New Zealand businesses would mentor operations in Tonga and other island countries.

The Tonga New Zealand Business Association, along with the New Zealand Pacific Business Council have been promoting a joint venture scheme, called JOVE.

Earlier this week the Tonga Prime Minister said a committee would look into the merits of the proposal and report back ahead of a visit to Tonga by his New Zealand counterpart in July.

Melino Maka, a deputy chair of the Business Council, says one business that could benefit from such a move is whale watching off Tonga’s Vava’u.

"This is a good opportunity to use some of the whale watching initiative in Tonga to hook up with the likes of [New Zealand’s] Kaikoura, with, you known, Kaikoura’s whale watching experience and also right through from the service to the marketing," said Maka.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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