HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 587: 27 October 2011

Pearl Authority Anticipates Mini-Auction Success
The sales resulting from this week’s ‘pearl mini- auction’, run by the Cook Islands Pearl Authority, should give an indication as to the success of the Pearl Authority’s scheme, the Pearl Exchange. The Pearl Exchange is a facility created by the Cook Islands Pearl Authority to benefit both farmers and retailers alike. Terai McFadzien of the Pearl Authority said that in a series of meetings held with retailers and wholesalers, it was expressed that the pearl farmers choice to sell pearls in bulk lots, or ‘parcels’, was unaffordable for some. It also meant that buying power was limited since parcels contained a variety of shapes, grades and colour, whereas buyers were only interested in a small and specific selection of shapes and/or grades. At the same time the pearl farmers themselves needed the income from selling bulk lots of pearls in order to continue production. The Pearl Exchange addresses these issues through a process that begins with the Pearl Authority’s purchase of parcels directly from farmers, with a down-payment of 50% of the total wholesale value of the parcel (as determined by the Pearl Authority). The pearls are then on-sold by the Pearl Authority to wholesalers and retailers through various initiatives, including the mini-auction, with the remaining balance owed to the farmers paid off over a period of no more than six months. After six months, the remaining balance owed to the farmers is paid in full. McFadzien said of the desired outcomes of the facility, “we worked hard towards being able to satisfy both sides.”
The mini-auction itself has been organised by Terai McFadzien and Caroline Tiria of the Cook Islands Pearl Authority, with the help of pearl technician and qualified grader, Sheena Vaetoru. The over 16,000 pieces on offer in the mini-auction are in fact a combination of nine farmers’ parcels purchased by the Pearl Exchange since late November 2010. The pieces have been graded, catalogued and carefully sorted into small lots, grouped together based on their shape and grade. McFadzien commented on this process, “The idea is to make it easier for the local wholesalers and retailers to buy.” The catalogue was sent out to various retailers who were invited to view the lots up for auction on Tuesday 25 October and again today, Thursday 27 October. The bids are sealed bids and viewing was available to buyers by appointment only. McFadzien said that a reserve price had been set on each of the lots. Major pearl retailers secured their appointments to view the pieces early, which was an encouraging indicator for the Pearl Authority as to the success of the mini-auction. McFadzien commented that the results of the mini-auction would determine whether further similar initiatives would be held in the future. The final viewing day was today (Thursday 27 October) and bids will be opened on Friday 28 October, with winning bidders notified by Friday afternoon.

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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