Mr Fiso John Fiso ONZM Recipient of Pacific Legacy Award 2022
14 Nov 2022

Mr Fiso John Fiso ONZM Recipient of Pacific Legacy Award 2022


The prestigious Pacific Business Trust Awards revealed Wellingtonian Pacific business leader, Mr Fiso John Fiso ONZM, as the 2022 Pacific Legacy Award recipient at Auckland’s Due Drop Events Centre on Friday 11 November 2022.

“Thank you Pacific Business Trust for recognising the hard work, sacrifice and achievement with this Legacy award, and all the excellent award recipients tonight,” says Fiso.

In front of a capacity filled room of 675 people the Pacific Legacy Award, sponsored by Pacific Business Trust, was presented by the Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon William Aupito Sio who acknowledged Fiso’s significant lifetime contribution to business and the community.

The Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony was also attended by dignitaries Minister Grant Robertson and MPs: Barbara Edmonds, Terisa Ngobi, Lemauga Lydia Sosene, Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki, and Paul Eagle.

Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio presents Pacific Legacy Award.

Also attending were National’s and Deputy Leader Nicola Willis, Auckland councillors as well as business network groups: Pacific Business Hub, Waikato Pacific Business Network, Impact Hub Waikato, Te Waka: Waikato’s Regional Economic Development Agency, K’aute Pasifika, Wellington Chamber of Commerce, Maanaki, Whāriki, as well as Pacific business finalists and Pacific community leaders.

Mr Fiso John Fiso ONZM, of the Fiso Investment Group Ltd has achieved significant milestones over the last 30 years in the business, education and sport sectors operating in regional, national and international arenas.

He was the first Samoan Otago University Physical Education graduate, founder of the NZ Institute of Sport (NZIS), CEO of the New Zealand College of Massage (NZCM) with over 15,000 students passing through the door and has been an outstanding contributor to thousands of students’ educational success over the years. Fiso’s innovative approaches to education, teaching and learning and staff alignment to core values, put him at the forefront of developmental education.

Fiso developed the largest private Pacific investment fund aimed at supporting business initiatives in the hospitality, wellness, education, property and health sectors. Chairman of several boards including the Pacific Cooperation Foundation (MFAT), and he is currently the chairman of the Whitby Collegiate Proprietors Board, Pacific Health Plus and the Fiso Investment Group. He has held board positions at the Pacific Business Trust, is Patron of the Rongotai College Old Boys Association and also Patron of the NZ University Rugby League.

Fiso is a visionary who has always been focused on excellence and accepts nothing less from himself and his staff. He has the ability to bring together diverse ranges of people to work for a common goal. He is driven to achieve goals, solve problems and execute strategy.

After thanking his wife Anne Marie, who he met in university, Fiso shared that their son wants to be the first Samoan astronaut and is currently studying at the University of Canterbury. Fiso then spoke of his family members and key staff who have been with him for the past 20 years in business. Fiso then thanked Hon Aupito William Sio for his work for the Pacific.

Fiso’s parents, Tafaoalii Atilua Fiso and Auvaa Iemaima Talima Fiso from the villages of Vaitoomuli and Tiavea, came to New Zealand in the 1950s, and were the first Pacific Islanders out from their district. Fiso’s mother who was a teacher in Samoa was unable to teach in New Zealand as her qualification wasn’t recognised so worked as a cleaner and factory worker, and his father was a freezing worker. His parents encouraged the family to focus on education, the potential of being in New Zealand was realised by their children who are successful entrepreneurs, and public servants in Police, education, social services and health.

After congratulating all the finalists of the night, Fiso imparted his learnings from being in business, after admitting business is a tough road:

  • Your all-weather friends and family who stick with you in good times and bad are the ones who make the business successful with you.

  • Timing is everything in business, you have to pitch the right timing.

  • You will meet a lot of good people who are willing help you along the way. For all young businesses, innovators and start-ups, collect everyone’s contacts [in the room], as many as you can. This can get you to all sorts of places and it’s how you meet a lot of people.

  • We’ve got to be ambitious and open to new ideas.

  • Remember that every mistake in business is a cost. Be ambitious but minimise the mistakes because you have limited war chest. Finance is key.

  • We must get out of the low entry market sectors and into education, health and technology. This is where much larger seed money is needed and encourage government and investors to support this.

  • The most important thing is, you, yourself. You have to make the investment in you. Grow your possibilities. Grow your own experience. Grow your own knowledge. Grow your own tenacity.

  • The businesses that make it are the ones that are stickable. They are resilient and they know when to get back up and keep going.

  • Even though commentators view is the next 12-18 months maybe tough, and that’s after businesses have already had a couple of hard years, the one thing that gives me confidence is that you’re already made for challenge because every day in business is hardship. When you face the next 12-18 months remember that you have already got the necessary tools to be resilient and get back up again.

The Pacific Legacy Award was established in 2018. Previous winners of the award have been Mike Pero in 2020 and Parris Goebel in 2018.

Mr Fiso John Fiso ONZM (left) and wife Anne Marie Fiso (centre) with family and colleagues.


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