Success in Pacific Education Grant recipients 2017


Ian TaireaIan Tairea

Kia orana, my name is Ian Tairea. I'm a computer teacher and head of the computing department at Freyberg High School in Palmerston North.
I am half Cook island, with my Father being born in Mauke, and half NZ European, with my mother being born in Raetihi, NZ. I was born and raised in New Zealand and have also spent some time in Australia.

I am passionate about teaching Pasifika youth how to use technology to build things, be creative, express themselves and learn about anything that they are interested in.

My inquiry project is based around equipping Pasifika youth with video recording equipment and teaching them the technical and theoretical skills required to tell a compelling story through film.
Story and song was traditionally how knowledge and wisdom was passed down through the generations, but this has been lost to some degree in the modern world. My hope is that by equipping Pasifika youth with modern forms of storytelling, they can then turn their eye to the stories important to them, and can share them with their friends, families, and communities in a format that can reach the world and be preserved forever .

I believe Pasifika youth are very creative and have a unique perspective and voice, so I'm excited to see what stories they deem worth telling.

“FrancoiseFrancoise Heenan

Talofa lava, Kia orana, Fakaalofa atu, Talofa ni, Ni sa bula, Mālō e lelei, Tēnā koe and warm Pasifika greetings. My name is Francoise Heenan and I am the Assistant Principal in charge of pastoral care at Villa Maria College.Since I started working at Villa over 14 years ago I have always been involved in working with our Pasifika students and their families. I am currently the lead Pasifika teacher for the College. 

In 2016 I helped start a mentoring programme for our Pasifika students. The main aim of this was to track student’s performance and help identify and decrease any barriers they had to learning. There was also involvement with their parents and the wider community, through information and performance evenings held at school. 

This grant will allow me to continue to focus on the Pasifika mentoring project. It will allow time and professional development for the mentor teachers to work with the students. The second project will focus on identity and language. Currently, not all students are at a level where they can take Level 1 Samoan, and the students would like to have a targeted homework club that runs after school at Villa Maria, where they can learn the basics of Samoan language, for example how to count, and common phrases. We have members of the community happy to help with this initiative. 


“TauaiTauai Salelea-Manson

Kia ora and Talofa lava, I am Tauai Salelea-Manson. I am a mother of five boys all in their teenage years. I came to New Zealand in the late 80’s.

I am a very passionate individual and dedicated in maintaining my Samoan language and identity I have been a bilingual teacher for seventeen years. My favourite year level is the New Entrant Year One. I believe this is a crucial age to build and nourish young people to be the best they can in keeping their identity alive for future generations. I believe to build a solid house, the foundation has to be solid and well rooted to withstand the weather and last for years.

Ou te talitonu a mautu ona tapue le olaga aoaoina o alo ma fanau ao iti, o isi laasaga e mulimuli mai o le a faigofie tele lea.
Soifua ma ia manuia

For this project, I would like to support not only Mua i Malae students in Maths but would also like to extend this to Pasifika students in the mainstream and wider school system. For this project my focus will be developing the use of Samoan and other Pasifika Language to support students in Mathematics.

I feel for students to be able to achieve to their full potential, they are best equipped with maths tools they can identify with.  Therefore, I would like to create and develop maths resources that have Pasifika themes, with a particular focus on Samoa. These can then be used by teachers both in Samoan bilingual units such as Mua i Malae, but also teachers who are not Samoan but teach Samoan students. To name a few examples of a maths resource I would be to develop, are activities based on Siapo, planting taro in Samoa, using authentic maths stories/word problems based around the Samoan and other Pasifika cultures.


Kourtney and Rosie - recipients of the Pasifika Grant 2017


Kourtney Saulala and Rosie Fakatava

Malo e lelei, Talofa lava, and Kia orana. We are the faiako at Rural Scholars Early Learning Centre, Rosie Fakatava and Kourtney Saulala. Both teachers are highly invested and passionate about Pasifika Education, both marrying their Tongan husbands in 2017. Both palangi faiako are learning and experiencing new Pasifika concepts, language and cultural practices daily, and sharing their growing knowledge with the Rural Scholars community.

Our vision is to design a unique and culturally responsive performance stage for our learning environment. It will encapsulate the patterns and significant symbols of Samoan, Tongan, Cook Island and Fijian cultures to create a meaningful and beautiful space. The idea of this stage is to inspire our language and cultural learning and knowledge, creating a special space for this learning to occur which brings to life the culture. The space would be used to perform and engage with our community's cultures, inviting families or groups to come in and share their talents with our tamariki. The children will also use this space as an opportunity to share their own learning with whanau and the community, singing, dancing, re-enacting and displaying our cultural awareness and pride of community spirit.

Read about our Pasifika journey and how it has evolved as we have challenged ourselves to continue striving to engage our tamaiti, ‘aiga and community to be enriched by the Pasifika cultures.

Rural Scholars - Pasifika Education Grant Report