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Pasifika Navigators of Tomorrow


Pasifika Navigators of Tomorrow—Year 11-13 Pasifika students
210 (from 23 Otago & Southland schools)

Pasifika Navigators of Tomorrow was designed, developed and run collaboratively with Pacific Trust Otago, My Next Move/Business South (Education to Employment Broker), and Connected/Ministry of Social Development.  

Our objective was to put on an event for Pasifika youth, that is built around what they want to see, how they want it to be run and who they want there. The objective was that it was engaging and more likely to have positive outcomes and next steps.

We ran a discovery session with Pasifika youth, asking them what they have liked/disliked about previous careers events; who they’d like to see there and how they’d like the event to be run. At this session, we also called for volunteers to join the Youth Committee. This ensured the event was co-designed with youth and we had continued youth engagement/guidance. The Youth Committee was instrumental throughout the planning process (assisting with the name of the event, designing the logo, and venue choice); promotion of the event (within their schools and running a TikTok channel); and some of the older Youth Committee members (who had since finished school) were guides at the event – assisting with entry/registration and supporting attendees throughout the day. 

About the Event:

Pasifika Navigators of Tomorrow was designed for Pasifika youth, from Year 11 to 13 to inspire them into the many different potential career paths available and assist them in reaching their career goals. 

The event connected the Pasifika Navigators of Tomorrow with the Pasifika Navigators of Today.  It was important to us that the young people saw people they could relate to, people who came from the same places they did, and who may have had the same journey or challenges. If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.

The event started with an opening ceremony (with Filipo Levi as guest speaker), then time for students to explore the various Career Villages (in a relatively structed manner, with their student guide), finishing with an inspirational Wahine panel.

Year 11 to 13 students throughout Otago, Southland and North Otago were invited to the event, via their schools and through community groups. Unfortunately, the event ended up being a PPTA strike day, which created an additional challenge to ensure the young people could (and would) attend on what would otherwise be a day off school. As a result, we opened the event up to Year 9 and 10 students in Dunedin too. We were delighted with the turnout on the day, with 210 students from 23 schools.

Official video

The organising committee included representatives from: Pacific Trust Otago; My Next Move/Business South (Education to Employment Broker); Connected/MSD.

We had over 60 Professionals (Pasifika Navigators of Today) from a range of businesses and industries:

—Corporate: Banking, CEO’s, Lawyer, Politics
—Creative: Self Employed Designer, Creative Advisor (DCC), Video Production, Architectural Designer
—Healthcare & Social Services: Physiotherapist, Doctor, Occupational Therapist, Field Officer, Provider and Assessor, Nurse Consultant, Midwife, Dietitian
—Hospitality & Tourism: Business Owner/Franchisee, Store Manager, Regional Coordinator – Go With Tourism, Customer Service/Retail Apprentice
—Sport: Healthy Lifestyles Manager, Rugby Player, Teacher/Sports Counsellor, Personal Trainer
—Science & Technology: Lead Developer, IT Recruitment Consultant, Senior Project Manager, Senior Advisor
—Vocational & Trades: Defence Force, Construction, Flooring, ETCO, Engineering and a number of ITOs
—Further Education & Support: Otago Polytechnic Pacific Island Centre, University of Otago Pacific Island Centre, Young Enterprise Scheme, Youth Employment Success, InZone Career Bus

We had excellent feedback from the students, some of which is quoted below. A number of students have also gained Gateway or work exploration placements; and a new programme has been established with the Southern District Health Board—showcasing public health careers to Pasifika students.

I would like to say thank you for having us there as I know that it not only helped me with what I want to do in the future but it helped all of us not only to understand more about our ideas after school, but it reminded us that being Polynesian doesn’t mean that we can’t pursue the same things as other people, and it helped to remind me that whatever I choose to do I will have the support and people to do the best and achieve the best I can, whether it be law or not. So thank you.

It was an awesome event, meeting new people as well and bonding with our Nesian community it was on! Definitely would do it again.

This was a beneficial opportunity because it helped me discover career pathways that linked in with my interests. Like for instance I am into art and designing things, So it was cool to find a potential career pathway in designing homes. What made this even better was how inspiring and passionate the employers were to us. This inspired us to think about what we may want to pursue in the future.”

I would like to say a massive thankyou cause I’m in a white school and there are not a lot of Pacifica in Invercargill in my school and this program definitely was great for me I was so inspired I think this should be 2 days for longer

The event ended up being on a PPTA strike day, with some non-teaching staff attended and providing positive feedback.

The event was planned to include a teacher professional development component—to help teachers understand and empower their Pasifika students (this was cancelled due to the strike).

Some of the main challenges for this event were that it took a considerable amount of time to organise, with an organising committee who were passionate and committed to the event, but also had other full-time roles to manage.  We are currently considering the best way to ensure this event can be offered in future years.

The total cost was approximately $30,000, which included a relatively expensive venue.  Funding was provided by a number of community organisations, and the organisation committees’ time was non-chargeable.

There was no cost to schools/students, or businesses/employers to attend.

If we could offer any advice, it would be to involve the Pasifika community, engage funders early, and work closely with schools.

Photo Gallery
Official Video
Otago Daily Times article

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