First Pasifika Week for Te Herenga Waka

Celebrating the successes of Pasifika cultures is being lifted to another level at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington with the inaugural launch of Pasifika Week this evening. 

The Pasifika region is vast, and Pasifika Week will acknowledge and celebrate the connections between our diverse cultures. The week is being organised by the Office of the Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika) and the Pasifika Students’ Council to acknowledge the shared histories of the Pasifika region.

“Pasifika Week is an opportunity and an acknowledgement for all the Pacific peoples who have in some way touched this University. We want to normalise the Pasifika presence in higher education spheres and celebrate the diversity of our students,” says President of the Pasifika Students’ Council and co-organiser Edwina Harris.

Associate Professor Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban, Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika), agrees. “Pacific peoples have given a lot to the culture of Aotearoa New Zealand, and our shared cultures are rich and vibrant. We are excited about celebrating our precious students and staff across this week and giving them the opportunity to share our language, arts, food, and more with the University and Wellington communities.”

When Pasifika student success adviser and Pasifika Week co-organiser Fabiefara Filo-Masoe thought about the Pasifika presence at the University, she recognised the importance of bringing her community together in celebration. “This week celebrates the beauty of our languages and cultures, and I am excited to showcase the diversity and similarities of our peoples.”

Pasifika Week will begin this evening with the launch of Wan Solwara, the Pasifika edition of student magazine Salient, alongside the launch of a Pasifika exhibition at Te Aro campus in Vivian Street in central Wellington. The rest of the week includes hangouts, movie nights, a market day, and on Thursday a Cultural Night in The Hub on Kelburn campus.

“Our student-led Cultural Night is about empowering our students to be proud of their Pasifika connections,” says Edwina.

The University is home to more than a dozen student clubs centred on Pasifika cultures and success.

The full Pasifika Week programme is at https://www.wgtn.ac.nz/pasifika/our-community/events/2021-pasifika-week

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