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Our Work is About

Leading and advocating that Pasifika languages, knowledge and cultural skills are specialist forms of educational knowledge.

Advocating for educational programmes that reflect Pasifika language, knowledge and cultural skills that contribute to Pasifika leadership and confident Pasifika communities.

Developing strategies in consultation with Pacific-ethnic stakeholders to achieve the best design and delivery of educational programmes.

Providing quality information, tools and resources that are relevant to Pasifika.

Delivering educational programmes that are responsive to the changing needs of Pasifika communities, that maximise individual achievement and are reflective of Pasifika cultural values.

Pasifika Education Centre History

The Past - Our Roots

In 1974, the idea for setting up an educational institute to cater for the needs of an increasing Pacific Island population was first mooted at a conference called by the Minister of Education Honourable Phil Amos at Lopdell House.

Around this time 78,000 Pacific Islanders resided in New Zealand. An Auckland star special report on Pacific Island issues in the country and in the Pacific Islands at the time described a Pacific community struggling to cope with the reality of living in New Zealand.

"Many came with the notion that Auckland's streets were paved with gold. For almost all of them it was their first trip from their home island, for most they were coming to their first job. Western Samoa figures showed that 73% of those that come here have never worked before, other than at home or on the family plantation. They have touching, simple confidence... they think they know all about New Zealand."

"The Government began to show qualified awareness those policies to deal with the situation needed to be devised."

Today - Going Back

It's over forty years since the idea of the Pacific Islanders Education Resource Centre was conceived.

Key Dates

1974: The idea was mooted for an educational institute to cater for the increasing Pacific Island population. At that time, 78,000 Pacific Islanders lived in New Zealand.

1978: The Pacific Islanders Education Resource Centre (PIERC) opened in Herne Bay.

Early 1980's: Due to growing needs in South Auckland a branch was opened in Mangere.

1993: PIERC renamed to PIERC Education and relocated to Atkinson Ave in Otahuhu.

2004: PIERC becomes Pasifika Education Centre (PEC) and moves to the Pacific Business Trust Centre, Great South Road, Otahuhu.

2010: PEC relocates to Lambie Drive in Manukau.

2016: PEC relocates to Manukau Institute of Technology and begins a partnership to deliver language and culture as a joint venture

2018: In September, PEC celebrated its 40th Anniversary.

“Our language enables us to communicate and engage in our cultural activities.  Our cultural activities are an expression of our identity.”

TuilomaGayle Lafaialii, Director

The Pasifika Education Centre Team

Tuiloma Gayle Lafaiali'i (MEd, BA) DIRECTOR

Most recently a senior manager at an NGO funded by the Ministry of Health, working in the innovation and social justice fields, to improve the lives of Pasifika and disadvantaged communities in South Auckland. Tuiloma has 20+years’ work experience in the Tertiary education sector, including 7 years at the NZ Qualifications Authority. Experienced as a senior leader across a range of Private Training Establishments, Tuiloma managed facilities and operations at Laidlaw College (previously known as the Bible College of NZ), was General Manager at The Learning Post which specialised in distance learning, Academic Director at Educol, and started her career at BEST Training Auckland as a Tutor and Course Director. As a senior executive, she is passionate about education particularly organisational structures and culture to enable learners to engage in and graduate at the highest levels of achievement, therefore improving their opportunities to secure meaningful employment. A strong background in project management, quality assurance, contract management, research and risk management.

Aiono Manu Faaea-Semeatu ACADEMIC MANAGER BMus, BA (Hons), GradDipTchg (Sec), PGDipEd, GradDipTESSOL, MProfStudies

Aiono Manu Faaea-Semeatu is a practising ethnomusicologist and educator. Aiono is a chief title bestowed on her by her father's family from the village of Fasito'o-uta in Upolu, Samoa. Her teaching experience has been in secondary schools in Auckland with Music, Social Studies and English from 2004. Her last teaching position was at Rutherford College as HOD Performing Arts, HOD Music and TIC Culture. Prior to secondary school teaching, she tutored and lectured in Ethnomusicology, Anthropology Department, University of Auckland. From February 2005 to November 2012 as a member of Komiti Pasifika with PPTA, Aiono Manu was involved in creating submissions and providing consultation feedback for various policy documents such as the Pasifika Education Plan for the Ministry of Education, the Pacific Languages Framework for the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs and the Pasifika Strategy for the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, strategic plan for ACE Aotearoa. She has also provided Pasifika perspectives for the Senior Learning and Teaching guides, in the curriculum areas of Science, Accounting and Economics with Learning Media. In March 2013, Aiono Manu was a judge for the Samoan Stage at ASB Polyfest and has also written assessment tasks for Samoan performances that can be used for NCEA Level 1, 2 and 3 Dance and Music. She has also collaborated with other Pasifika educators and performing artists to create Tongan, Cook Island and Niuean assessment tasks for NCEA Level 1, 2 and 3 Dance. Aiono Manu is interested in interacting with educators and supporting them in their work in raising student achievement, by realising student potential. She is also in her final year as a PhD student in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland researching Pacific Island secondary students’ perceptions of success.

Crystal Fetalaiga PEC ADMINISTRATOR

The Pasifika Education Centre Governance Group

Ron Viviani, Chairperson

Born in Niue and currently working in Auckland, holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Economics from Massey University and currently operates and manages a portfolio of ECE services. Prior to his current position, Ron has worked in a number of business advisory and consultancy roles, both in the community and corporate sectors. Ron brings strong knowledge of the ECE sector from a business perspective, and has extensive experience in working alongside Pasifika ECE services, with expertise in setting strategic direction, introducing effective management systems and a clear focus on delivering quality ECE. Ron is currently involved with a number of private sector driven initiatives to improve the access of Pasifika communities to quality ECE. He also holds a number of positions in the Pasifika community being a Treasurer of The Newton PIPC in Auckland and a Trustee of the Hakupu Atua Trust Board. He is a former board member Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA), one of the largest in the country with more than 100 ECE centres and 9000 young children in attendance.

Pafitimai Dr Sala Fa'asaulala Tagoilelagi-Leota

Born in Vailoatai in American Samoa, schooled in Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand Pafitimai Salā Dr Faasaulala Tagoilelagi-Leota has spent almost 30 years in the early childhood sector with twenty years lecturing and programme leader for Pasifika education at tertiary level. Selected to be a panellist for the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Excellence Awards in Education, the Pasifika input for the development of Vulnerable Children’s paper and the current president of the SAASIA Inc (Samoan National ECE Association in NZ) for the last 9 years, she has published widely on Samoan cultural knowledge’s contribution in legitimising Pasifika world view. She hails from Vatia in Tutuila, Vaiala, Moataa, Sapunaoa and Leauvaa from Samoa. Dr Tagoilelagi-Leota is an education consultant under Tatai Angitu of Massey University, working on international and national contracts.

Metuakore Bates

The former Chair of MIT’s Pacific Advisory Committee to the Faculty of Nursing & Health Studies, Metua has over three decades of experience in the health, education and social sectors in both governance and management roles. Currently with Alliance Health Plus (PHO) as Manager Pacific Integration and Development Services, highlights of her career include roles as Operations Manager for the Meningococcal B Clinical Trials (University of Auckland), establishment of the Starship Children’s Hospital Pacific Family Support Unit, management of the Manukau Youth Centre and Patient Care Coordinator for South Auckland Crown Health Enterprise. Born Amuri, Aitutaki Cook Islands, Metua migrated with her family to NZ at 4 years of age. She has held a number of executive posts in community organizations including Chair Pacific Health & Welfare, National Treasurer P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A., Vice President of the Cook Islands Health Network Association (NZ) Inc – CIHNA and Co-chair of the Cook Islands Nurses Association Aotearoa (CINAA). Metua is proud of her Cook Islands-Tahitian-Papaa heritage, 2 children and is the proud nana of 6 grandchildren.

Iani Nemani

Iani comes from a large Tongan family with Fijian heritage and migrated to New Zealand at a very young age. Iani Nemani has a strong background in labour market development, social work, community economic development. He is an experienced relationship manager and brings over 20 years of experience across community, local and central government, tertiary education and industry training sectors. Iani is currently employed as a Diversity Manager with Diversity Works New Zealand (DWNZ) and prior to that he held Management and senior advisory capacities with Competenz, a leading NZ industry training organisation and MBIE, Department of Labour and the former Manukau City Council. In addition to his Board role with PEC, Iani is a recent appointment to the ADHB Patient and Whanau Centred Care Council. He is an alumnus of Leadership New Zealand. He has tertiary qualifications in social work, social policy, economic development and theology.

Prof Tania Ka'ai

Tania has been involved in teriary education for 30 years; 20 of these years as Professor. She holds dual positions in Te Ara Poutama, The Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Development at Auckland University of Technology (AUT). She is Professor of Māori Innovation and Development Auckland New Zealand and Director of Te Ipukarea-The National Māori Language Institute and Te Whare o Rongomaurikura - The International Centre for Language Revitalisation. Dr Ka’ai’s passion for education, in particular for minorities, reflects in all of her work at AUT. Her work as Director is an opportunity to share her knowledge not only with students and staff at AUT and others nationally, but internationally too, having launched the Centre at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in May 2011. As an Indigenous scholar (from a Māori and Pacific heritage, Dr Ka’ai uses the cultural values transmitted by her elders and mentors as an epistemological framework to inform her academic writing and teaching within the academy. Dr Ka’ai has spent her entire adult life being involved in various initiatives for the revitalisation of the Māori language in Aotearoa/New Zealand including: becoming involved in the Te Kōhanga Reo Movement initially as a mother to stop language loss in her family and more recently as an expert to give evidence at the WAI2336 Claim (Waitangi Tribunal Claim) against the Crown based on her research and knowledge of Kōhanga; working with her tribal community to establish a Kura Kaupapa Māori in that community which still exists today 25 years later, and all of the teachers are trained and qualified from that tribal community; Indigenising the university academy through establishing culturally rich spaces to research and teach the Māori language and culture, and celebrate Māori identity and, advocating the introduction of policies and processes which recognize the Māori language and culture as an official language.

Aiolupotea Sina Aiolupotea-Aiono (Ex Officio Board member)

Aiolupotea is the General Manager Regional Partnerships at the Ministry of Pacific Peoples, based at their Auckland offices in Manukau.

Eli Tagi

Eli has worked in the accounting field for over 15 years both in the government sector and in public practice. He is a fully qualified Chartered Accountant of NZ (CA) and a Certified Practicing Accountant of Australia (CPA). He is also a member of both CAANZ and the CPA College of Australia. Eli is also currently a Board member for the Careers Advisory Panel for Chartered Accountants Australia NZ (CAANZ), Board member for the Pacific Island Chartered Accountants Nework (PICAN), Board member/Treasurer for the Be the Connection Charitable Trust; and Trustee Advisor for the Pacific Island Dance Fono Charitable Trust. Eli is the co-owner of a Chartered Accounting firm based in Grey Lynn Auckland which employs eight fulltime staff. Eli has worked previously as an Auditor at RSM Prince (part of RSM International) for 4 years which is the sixth largest accounting group in the world. Prior to that role, Eli also worked as an Auditor for the Inland Revenue Department for 2 years. And before his accounting pathway, Eli spent five years working in Sales and Marketing working his way up from a merchandiser to senior roles culminating in his appointment as an Area Manager, servicing the retail sectors for the Auckland and Waikato geographical areas. Eli’s passion is helping people both personally and professionally, and he has worked with many entities from small family owned businesses to million dollar corporations.

Dr Rae Si'ilata

Dr Rae Si’ilata is a Lecturer in Biliteracy-Pasifika at the University of Auckland, in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy/Critical studies in Education and Faculty of Education and Social Work. Rae’s recent research interests centre of Pasifika learner success, identity construction, and experiences of education. Rae is interested in bilingual/biliterate/bicultural outcomes, teacher professional learning and development in second language acquisition and biliteracy, and mixedness in Māori/Pasifika whānau/family. Rae has previously held roles as the Associate Dean Pasifika (Faculty of Education and Social Work, UoA); and is currently contracted to the MoE as Project Director, Pasifika Teacher Aide Project; and Project Director, Pasifika Early Literacy Project (PELP). An impressive research portfolio, Rae has received a number of distinctions and honours including the 2018 Sunpix Pacific People’s Award, the Ako Aotearoa Inaugural Pacific Professional Development Fund Scholarship and was the 2018 Pacific Community Panel member for the Network for Educational Research. Rae also is an Advisory Board Member for the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative since 2018; is the Pasifika Research Group Member for A Better Start Science Challenge; and was most recently a member of the Ministry of Education Reference Group for the review of NCEA in 2018. In her spare time, Rae is also currently supervising two doctoral students, and was a Supervisor to 8 master’s students in 2018.