NZ Pasifika Principals Conference 2023

Photo: NZPPA Conference delegates visiting Favona School – Niue Bilingual Unit

In May this year the NZ Pasifika Principals Association (NZPPA) in partnership with Tautai O Le Moana, held a conference for Principals and School Leaders. The name of the conference was “Leadership from a Bilingual Perspective” and the main aims and objectives were: 

  • Celebrate and showcase successful Pasifika Leadership from a Bilingual Perspective in schools

  • Talanoa and build connections with other Pasifika and Tautai Principals from across the country 

  • To build and strengthen Culturally Responsive Practice and Bilingual Pedagogy in Schools

The conference was held over Thursday and Friday and was attended by Principals, School Leaders, Education Providers and the Ministry of Education. Participants came from all over the country and it was a great melting pot of different ethnicities and cultures.

Thursday 25 May 2023 – Programme:

School Tours:

Photo: NZPPA Conference delegates visiting Sutton Park School – Tongan Bilingual Unit

The day started with conference attendees gathering early at Jet Park Hotel in Mangere to embark on a day organised around visiting a variety of bilingual units in Schools. The schools we visited were Favona Primary School Niue Bilingual Unit, Sutton Park School Tongan Bilingual Unit and then Otahuhu Primary School Samoan Bilingual Unit.

Photo: NZPPA Conference delegates visiting Otahuhu Primary School – Samoan Bilingual Unit

At every school we were welcomed and then taken on a tour of the schools and were able to engage and interact within the Bilingual Units. It was amazing for our conference attendees to see the different units in action and to hear the journey each of them have been on. Many of the attendees have the desire to implement and start their own units back in their own schools and as a result of the tour many schools now have schools to return to for further support and information for their own schools and staff. Here are some of the photos from the bilingual visits:

Jet Park Day One:

Photo: NZPPA Conference – Saane Faaofo-Oldehaver (President) Welcoming Attendees and opening the Conference
Photo: NZPPA Conference – Attendees engaged in an Introduction Activity

Once the tours were complete we headed back to Jet Park Hotel in Mangere and started our conference programme. Attendees were welcomed by Saane Faaofo-Oldehaver (President NZPPA) and then participated in a fun introduction activity. It was an awesome way to get to know who was in the room and why they chose to attend the conference.

Photo: NZPPA Conference – Faatili Iosua Esera – Keynote Address

Then we were treated to an amazing Keynote Presentation from Faatili Iosua Esera (Principal of Sutton Park School). The theme of his presentation was “Leading a School as a Pasifika Principal”. Faatili had been a Principal for over 30 years and before tomorrows schools and has seen and experienced change over the years.

Photo: NZPPA Conference – Vili – Deputy Head Boy Avondale College

We then shared a yummy meal together and during this we were treated to a special speaker – Vili who is Deputy Head Prefect of Avondale College. He spoke to the conference about “Why is being bilingual important to me”. It was inspiring and moving to hear his story and the reasons why he has actively nurturing and embracing his Gagana Samoa and Spanish.

Photo: NZPPA Conference – Sir Douglas Bader Intermediate Performance Group

To finish the evening we had a very talented performance group from Sir Douglas Bader Intermediate Perform followed by an amazing Pasifika Live Band led by non other than Jerry Leaupepe. Here are some photos of the amazing first session at Jet Park Hotel in Mangere:

Friday 26 May 2023 – Programme:

Jet Park Day Two:

Photo: NZPPA Conference – Members of the Tairangi School Devotion Team

Day two started with an amazing devotion led by Olive Masina and the Tairangi crew. Its always important to start things properly and thanks to these attendees who were asked to step in at the last minute – Thanks Karl LOL.

Photo: NZPPA Conference – Esa Samani (MoE Manager Pacific Te Poutahu Curriculum Centre) and Helen Varney (Director of Tautai O Le Moana)

One thing that has improved over the years has been the way in which our NZPPA organisation has connected and worked in partnership with the Ministry of Education. We were so fortunate and lucky to have Esa Samani (Manager Pacific Te Poutāhū Curriculum Centre) and Elizabeth Keresoma (Lead Adviser Te Poutāhū – Curriculum Centre) with us for the two days. Thank you Esa for running a session at our conference on How the MoE support schools considering Bilingual Education and What is the process for schools considering Bilingual Education? We are very thankful and support the MoE provided NZPPA and Tautai o le Moana and look forward to more in the future.

Photo: NZPPA Conference – Dr Rae Siilata (Director Vaatele Education Consulting) – Keynote Address

Our first Keynote Speaker for the day was Dr Rae Siilata – Director of Vaatele Education Consulting. She is a long time friend and colleague of NZPPA and TolM and for her to present at our conference was simply amazing. Her themes were “What is Pasifika Education and Why should schools consider Bilingual Education?”. The feedback from participants was next level and we know that there are very few experts in this field at her level. Thank you Rae.

Photo: NZPPA Conference – Shirley Maihi (Principal Finlayson Park School) – Keynote Address

Our second Keynote Speaker was Shirley Maihi – Principal of Finlayson Park School. Shirley began teaching 55 years ago and has been Principal of Finlayson Park for 35 years. Maihi also believes in the importance of nurturing first languages and her school became the first state school to be in a te reo Māori immersion programme. The Māori unit blossomed at the school, which now has 950 pupils representing 24 ethnicities, and five different learning pathways have evolved, including Samoan and Tongan immersion units. Shirleys themes were “The benefits of Bilingual Education in schools, The processes for setting up Bilingual Units and the pedagogy that sits behind this, A Bilingual school’s journey”.

The final session involved the participants listening to an amazing panel of leaders from schools who had implemented Bilingual Units recently. It was very valuable for the conference attendees to listen to their stories and relate to their journeys. We were fortunate to have Ilatose Fuataga – Senior Teacher Rowandale School – Niue Bilingual Unit, Paeariki Johnston – Principal Rongomai School – Cook Island Bilingual Unit and Tufaina Faraimo – Assistant Principal Glenview School – Tokelau Bilingual Unit.

Photo: NZPPA Conference – the amazing Lito and Helen 

The NZPPA Conference was a complete success and it could not have been possible without the amazing team behind the scenes. We were so fortunate to have the amazing services of Tautai O Le Moana (TolM) who project managed our conference and ensured that everything ran smoothly. To Helen Varney and Lito Bernard-Kauhega thank you so much for the time and effort you both put into making the conference a huge success. Here are more photos from the conference: