First post for 2015

This is the first instalment for 2015. A lot has happened since the beginning of the year – it promises to be another busy year, no doubt building on the 2014 foundation.

Recent highlights and what to look forward to:

  • I was invited to the reception for the new US Ambassador HE Mark Gilbert. A good relationship exists with the American Embassy in Wellington and the US Consulate in Auckland. I look forward to working with the new Ambassador;
  • There is an exciting project that is being carried out in collaboration between the Pasifika Directorate and the Pacific Exporters’ Network, to look at the possibility of encouraging Pacific Islanders to pay for goods (groceries and so forth) in New Zealand whilst their families and relatives pick them up in the Islands. An important partner is NZ Post which will make available its resources to support the initiative;
  • A workshop on disaster risk management run jointly by the Joint Centre for Disaster Research and the Pacific Research and Policy Centre was held in Wellington in March saw representatives from five Pacific Islands come together to be helped and supported in putting together disaster management plans for their respective countries. Interestingly, representatives from Vanuatu participated in the exercise and I am sure they were able to put into practice what they learned during the aftermath of Cyclone Pam;
  • Pasifika staff at Massey held its first annual planning and leadership day in March. One of the highlights was when the Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey shared with us his vision for Pasifika/Pacific in New Zealand and the region: this is the time for Pasifika staff to lead Massey to become ‘more Pacific’ by making the university understand Pacific/Pasifika;
  • The Office of the AVC Maori and Pasifika is developing a new Cultural Audit Model as a mechanism to ensure colleges and units work together with the Office to achieve measurable outcomes for Maori and Pasifika;
  • The Pasifika Directorate in conjunction with the Pacific Research and Policy Centre is developing a set of research guidelines for Massey researchers to use when researching the Pacific/Pasifika. One of the objectives is to make research culturally appropriate and ethically responsible. The aim is to have a draft ready by the third quarter of this year;
  • The Pacific Research and Policy Centre was launched publicly at Parliament House in Wellington on Monday 30 March. It was attended by over a 100 guests including parliamentarians, diplomatic corps, university leaders, academics, government ministries as well as Pasifika communities. The main message that came from the speeches and presentations was that Pasifika/Pacific research needed to benefit Pasifika/Pacific communities;
  • I was invited to take part in a review of a new Masters in Pacific and Indigenous Development degree at AUT. It looks to be a wonderful offering and it could form one of the bases perhaps of a similar degree at Massey;
  • The Auckland Secondary Schools’ Polyfest was a resounding success for Massey where we sponsored the Tongan stage. We had over 200 prospective students fill out enquiry forms as well as countless others who visited the Massey tent to discuss their future tertiary options;
  • Our main highlight for April is the Albany graduation and Pasifika graduation celebration where Moses Faleolo and Sione Vaka will graduate with PhDs. The guest speaker will be Jenny Salesa MP.

Pasifika@Massey A Massey Site