While invited guests were yet to arrive for the 7pm opening, residents of Goroka had already gathered outside the state-of-the-art building, greeting visitors as they made their way into the premises.
The welcome was especially loud when former Goroka MP, Bire Kimisopa, arrived on site as he is the owner and landlord of the ANZ Goroka Haus.
Locals maintained the hype from around 3pm until dusk, when Eastern Highlands Governor, Peter Numu, finally arrived.
Managing director, Mark Baker, said the new centre will service its corporate and institutional clients in Eastern Highlands Province, placing special emphasis on PNG’s coffee export industry.
He highlighted that Goroka has been at the heart of PNG’s coffee export industry for decades, making a name for PNG with its high quality Arabica coffee in the global market.
He said whilst the ANZ model in PNG has changed – where their retail customers are being handled by Kina Bank – they still maintain their corporate and commercial presence.
“And we’re still a major supporter of agriculture in general, whether it be coffee, whether it be palm oil, cocoa or tuna. But coffee is something which I believe, has such a promising future because of the quality of the product that comes out of PNG.”
Baker further said when speaking with their clients, it became clear that local coffee buyers are a critical part of the supply chain, where banking in a safe and secure environment is a need. Their new facility takes that to a level not seen in Goroka before, in addition to providing a more comfortable and clean environment.
Meantime, Eastern Highlands Governor, Peter Numu, thanked ANZ for choosing Goroka, giving the assurance that his people’s friendly and welcoming nature will create a conducive environment for business to thrive.
The building was then officially opened by Bire Kimisopa and his wife, Governor Numu, Baker and Bank of PNG’s assistant governor of financial system stability, Ellison Pidik.
(ANZ staff posing with locals in traditional ‘bilas’)