Among the new generation of businessmen making their mark in Tonga’s struggling economy is a self taught, determined and passionate business owner known to everyone as ‘Mote’. Raised in a poor family from the Western District of Tongatapu, and migrated to New Zealand at a young age, he has defied all odds to become one of Tonga’s business leaders today.
Mote’s big point of difference is that when he sees an opportunity he grabs it with both hands, work hard at it and becomes the best at doing it resulting in leaving his competition in his wake.
His current businesses include a Guest House, nightclub, bar and restaurant operated by his holding company, Noa Enterprises Ltd. He also operates a finance company, TMT Group Ltd, with branches in New Zealand and Tonga, offering short and long terms loans with money-transfer and foreign currency exchange facilities. He also owns Noa Wine & Spirits Ltd, a manufacturer of a unique and popular range of Tongan spirits as well as retail outlets.
A People’s Man
Mote’s interest is not restricted to generating revenue from his many business ventures. The fire that motivates Mote is his people and community. The success of his business has allowed him to create opportunities and to share his wealth with his people through employment, financial support and leadership.
A passionate rugby player in his youth saw him return from New Zealand when he was 20 years old in 1992 to join his beloved Hihifo Rugby Club. Long been one of the leading clubs in Tonga in the 60s to the early 80s with numerous national championships. But prior to his return it has been relegated to the bottom of the domestic competition for almost 10 years. On his return he helped the club win the semi finals of 1992. Unfortunately Mote suffered a horrific injury in a freak accident the week before the finals that resulted in his being paralysed from the waste down and confined him to a wheel chair for the rest of his life.
A New Chapter
Mote called this significant event the ‘beginning of a new chapter’ in his life.
After the accident he was returned to New Zealand for medial treatment and recovery. Here’s a list of his achievements since he recovered and decided to make a life for himself and his family:
- 1999: Certificate in Computer Literacy
- 2000-2001: Ripple Trust – a non government agency providing support
services for disable people
- 2001-2002: Established and appointed Secretary of the Tongan Disabled Ekisoto Trust to support the Tongan disabled community of Auckland with government funded programs
- 2002 – 2003: Appointed chairman of the Tuku ki Falelalava Trust, a national organization that provide support for disabled Tongans and their families
- 2003: Training on Graphic Design and Publishing
- 2003: Started the first Pacific magazine for the disabled community of New Zealand called the ‘Visone’
- 2003 – Established Houmatetefa Finance Ltd in Auckland
- 2005: Appointed to the board of the COGS Manukau City (Community
Organisation Grants Scheme), which was responsible for the distribution of $12m in grants for community groups that provide support services for the disabled community of Manukau City
- 2005: Training in the distilling and manufacturing of Alcoholic Spirits and beverages
- 2005: Training in the manufacturing of soups and soup products
- 2006: Became the first Pacific Islander to be a member of the advisory council to Office for Disability Issues. An advocacy group that advices parliament on the rights and special needs of disabled people from ethnic minority groups
- 2007-2009: The first ever disabled coach of a NZ Rugby Union registered club
- 2010: Relocated to Tonga to start NOA ENTERPRISES LTD
With his current business ventures Mote is always looking abroad for opportunities to attract interested parties in investing and taking advantage of the many business opportunities Tonga as development country has to offer. Particularly in the construction and civil infrastructure development projects that is currently planned for Tonga.
International aid is pouring into the Kingdom to fund these projects and there is an obvious lack of large credible, qualified and experience contractors in Tonga to carry out these projects.
There is a real and urgent gap in the market place for such a provider with established local partners to successfully bid for this work, which is estimated to be in the rage of USD200m in the next 5 years.
I look forward to providing you with further details and meet with you to discuss where we can work together to make this a reality and successfully build a partnership that will further your interest in the regional as well as help in the development of the Kingdom of Tonga.