Pasifika at Vic

Our Stories

Our Pasifika cultures are distinctive in their oral traditions, and the way information is passed down through story-telling and oratory. Here are the stories of some of our current students.

Talei leaning on a wall full of hanging photos.

Talei Peckham
Fiji

"I was born in Auckland, spent my childhood in Fiji then moved back to New Zealand when I was 10 years old. I have five siblings, which meant there was always someone around to sleep in my bed and make a lot of noise."

Read Talei's story

Chelcia

Chelcia Gomese
Solomon Islands

"My Master’s programme has opened great opportunities for me such as undertaking as internship at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in Samoa. During my time with SPREP, I felt connected to the whole Pacific region, which was a working environment I really appreciated."

Read Chelcia's story

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Elyjana Roach
Samoan

"I grew up in Porirua and my whole life I heard that this city was full of potential and opportunity, and I want to see that realised … I want to create something that will last longer than me."

Read Elyjana's story

NUSSA delegates

National University of Samoa Students Association
Samoan

Victoria University of Wellington is hosting members of the National University of Samoa Students Association (NUSSA) for a week-long programme designed to strengthen student ties between Victoria and its Pacific neighbours.

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Vergil Narokobi
Papua New Guinean

"I would say that if you can brave the cold (although the summers can be fantastic), by coming to Victoria you would have made an excellent choice for your education, whether undergraduate or postgraduate."

Read Vergil's story

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Sepelini Mua’au
Samoan

Sepelini’s advice to niu students is to “stick to what you like doing, which may not be what your parents want you to do. Don’t worry if things don’t go right, because if you stick with it, something good will usually come up”.

Read Sepelini's story

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Gibson Ngibe
Papua New Guinean

“I see Pasifika people as one big family dispersed in various small islands in the vast Pacific Ocean. We value family, friendship and community. Helping each other is at the core of our values. I see Pasifika people as my extended family members.”

Read Gibson's story

Save Mataele

Save Mataele
Tongan

Growing up in Tonga is where my interest for music came about. I was actively involved in the church choir and became the youngest choir conductor. My future plans include returning to Tonga with my new knowledge and skills to start an orchestra.

Read Save 's story

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Tupe Lualua
Samoan

As a performer of Pacific Heritage Dance, Tupe has travelled extensively around the globe, sharing Pasifika dances across North America, Europe and Asia. Uncovering Pasifika history at Victoria has been "mindblowing, inspiring, enlightening and empowering" for Tupe.

Read Tupe's story

Robin Iakopo Yates

Robin Iakopo Yates
Samoan

Robin says Victoria has given him the opportunity to learn and grow as a person. “It’s a great place to meet new people. I encourage new students to take time for study, turn up to all classes and give it 100 percent.”

Read Robin's story

Viliame Lewenilovo

Viliame Lewenilovo
Fijian

Viliame is a medical Doctor and surgeon who is now broadening his horizons once again by studying for a further degree in Commerce, majoring in Economics and Finance. Viliame has a dream to be involved in the economic and financial side of business and investments.

Read Viliame's story

Emelihter Kihleng

Emelihter Kihleng
Pohnpeian

Emelihter is a PhD candidate in Pacific Studies. She wasn’t born a writer but was inspired by a great poet and lecturer and has since published her own book of poetry – My Urohs. Emelihter follows her heart and what is meaningful to her, which has brought her all the way from Guam to Aotearoa, and to Victoria University.

Read Emelihter's story

Sera Lusia Tokakece and her daughter Lynda

Sera Lusia Tokakece
Fijian

Sera is currently completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching majoring in Early Childhood. She combines her study with a busy life as a mother and is actively involved in the Pasifika Students' Council.

Read Sera's story

Te Kura Moeka'a

Te Kura Moeka'a
Cook Island

Te Kura is studying towards completing a Bachelor of Arts majoring in International Relations and Pacific Studies. She followed in her Auntie's footsteps by coming to study at the best politics and international relations school here at Victoria.

Read Te Kura's story

NUSSA delegates

Andrew Tuigamala
Samoan

Andrew was impressed with Victoria's support for its Pasifika students, and its many student facilities, especially the large computer suites and many study spaces.

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Helena Lawrence
Samoan/Tokelauan

Helena says "The marine environment captivated my interest ever since I was a child. To my surprise I found that I also enjoyed learning about Statistics which became one of my favourite subjects at Victoria.”

Read Helena's story