Oxfam is calling for a rethink of traditional assumptions about economies in the Pacific.
The NGO says this is needed to best support people through the global economic crisis and help them out of poverty.
This comes as more than two hundred delegates gather in Vanuatu for a conference called the Human Face of the Global Economic Crisis.
Oxfam New Zealand's Executive Director Barry Coates says a new report highlights the fact that economic growth in the Pacific had not always led to improvements in people's lives and reductions in poverty.
Mr Coates says given the existing high levels of poverty in the Pacific, it's crucial the full impact of the crisis is understood.
Oxfam is calling on New Zealand and the international community to help the Pacific through and beyond the economic crisis.
It wants to see better monitoring, strengthening of traditional support systems and budget support to ensure vital spending on health and education is maintained.