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Pacific business sustainability in New Zealand: a study of Tongan experiences
Prescott, Semisi Manisela
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Pacific business sustainability in New Zealand is important for the economic and social wellbeing of the Pacific Island people who have chosen New Zealand as their home. As with many ethnic minorities businesses overseas, Pacific businesses struggle to survive in a foreign commercial environment that is often not aligned to the value systems and customs of their country of origin. This study seeks to determine the key financial and entrepreneurial drivers of business sustainability for Tongan businesses as a specific group within the Pacific Island business sector. The study takes an ethnic specific view of business sustainability drawing on the experiences of twenty Tongan businesses, three Pacific business consultants and the wider Tongan community. The data was captured in a series of talanoa sessions (a traditional and preferred form of communication based on face to face discussion) carried out in 2006 and 2007. Throughout the study, attention was given to Tongan protocols, cultural nuances and sensitivities to ensure the context in which these Tongan businesses operate was captured. The study concludes by making several contributions to the literature. The first includes the contribution to methodology through to use of talanoa in a business context. The second is the contribution to embeddedness theory through the analysis of specific Tongan business experiences and lastly the empirical contribution to the Pacific Island business literature. The findings have been analysed from a number of perspectives including; financial accounting, business finance, management accounting and business related challenges. The empirical findings highlight that differences in culture and traditional Tongan protocols influence business practice. The impact of Tongan culture on business sustainability is both complementary and inimical. Tongan business sustainability in New Zealand is therefore a product of business practices that incorporate embedded Tongan culture and the western commercial paradigms within which they operate.