The New Zealand Trade Minister, Tim Groser, says there is now a real commitment in the Pacific to a new approach to economic development.
His comments follow the region's Trade Ministers calling for formal negotiations on the enlarged Pacific Agreement of Closer Economic Relations, or PACER PLUS, to begin in August.
In addition the Trade Ministers have agreed to set up an advisor's office to help the island countries in the PACER negotiations.
Mr Groser says a bigger issue is ensuring the island countries have the capacity to take advantage of the trade deals once they are in place.
"What we have to address is the agenda after these negotiations are complete, whenever they may be completed and nobody is putting a date around that now, to try and ensure that they actually get materiel assistance from us [New Zealand and Australia] to enhance their capacity to take advantage of these economic opportunities."
New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser.