About PacificTA

PacificTA’s mission is to help improve the quality of life for citizens in Pacific Island countries.

We have a wealth of knowledge among our local authority teams in New Zealand and across the Pacific. PacificTA allows these experts to share experiences – what works, what doesn’t – so improvements are made and mistakes are not repeated.

Funded by the New Zealand Government’s aid programme, PacificTA trains and mentors local public service managers and equips them with the knowledge and technical expertise to better manage essential public infrastructure and services. 


How does it work?

Experts from New Zealand’s local government team will come to the Pacific and offer hands-on mentoring and training for urban planning and development, and planning and management of infrastructure like water, waste, and landfill management.

Relationships are the heart of PacificTA with New Zealand teams working closely with their Pacific Island partners onsite in the islands, and as required, in New Zealand. PacificTA experts are available to work with local managers and identify better ways to provide and manage public services. Each work programme developed is tailor-made to help local managers get the most out of the experience and improve their capabilities in areas like staff development, asset management, sector co-operation and public communication. For longer term programmes, a strategic assessment will be undertaken to prioritise and agree a programme of work.

“It brings a new way of seeing things, new ideas, sharing experiences with us, through that assistance, that is the key outcome.”

Pacific Island country participant

“The reason we get involved [is] because there might be staffing or resource that isn’t available locally, our involvement has been to provide assistance to local staff who may not have the technical experience or background…we’ve been able to provide quite a lot of input to the programme and helping them to see what the possibilities are and be able to upskill them to be able to take up the project locally.”

Technical Advisor New Zealand


Who is involved?

PacificTA is managed by Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT)’s New Zealand Aid Programme.

At a high level PacificTA is governed by a steering committee comprising LGNZ, MFAT, and local authority representation (currently Auckland Council, Porirua City Council, Northland Regional Council and Southland District Council).

On a day-to-day basis, the programme is coordinated by the PacificTA Manager. The concept of kanohi ki te kanohi/face-to-face contact is held in high regard by all PacificTA participants.

Technical experts are drawn from all around New Zealand’s 78 local authorities (including regional and unitary councils), while each participating Pacific Island country determines who is involved from their teams based on the technical assistance required. 

“[PacificTA] works well for us. We have had the challenges of trying to procure someone [through another provider] and that process took over two years. Through this we’ve been able to rapidly access human resources.” Pacific Island country government stakeholder


Who can take part?

All Pacific Island countries with New Zealand bilateral relationships are eligible for support: the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, and Tuvalu. 

All New Zealand-based local government staff can participate in the programme.


How long do the projects take?

On average PacificTA projects involve several weeks of collaboration but this depends on the type of assistance required. Some projects involved New Zealand technical experts meeting with their Pacific Island partners for a few days sharing information and establishing a process for resolving the problem. Other projects involved many months of collaboration with New Zealand technical experts onsite for a week or two at a time and Pacific Island local government workers travelling to New Zealand for additional support and training.

“When we went over there we toured around the different waterfront projects in Auckland and Wellington…to analyse what’s there, and compare with what is here. And we came back with a lot of data, and what was really helpful was we got to meet the people who run the projects over there…we sat down and brainstormed, and actually drew up a map, we went as far as that, and be selective [to reflect our context]…so we tailor-make the idea, make our own flavour, instead of cut and paste. We ended up with a very satisfactory result.” Pacific Island country government stakeholder