Pasifika legacy

We look to the stories of past students and staff—our gafa (genealogy) at Victoria—to inspire and direct us, as we would with our tumbuna (ancestors).

Just as we look to and retell the stories of our tumbuna (ancestors) to inspire and direct us in our Pacific communities, we also look to the past students and staff of Victoria University for inspiration. They are our gafa (genealogy) here at Victoria.

With unique cultural understanding and Pasifika perspectives, our Pasifika alumni make a valuable contribution to their fields of expertise and communities.  This, along with the great teaching and core values of Victoria, make them highly sought after within New Zealand, Oceania, and the world.

Are you one of our Pasifika alumni? Contact Trudy Lagolago to update your details or get involved.

Grayson Hughes

Grayson’s decision to study a Bachelor of Engineering seemed a natural choice but his School of Engineering and Computer Science journey has not been easy.

Lana Cleverley

I chose to study engineering because I like using science to find innovative solutions to problems and to make everyday life easier.

Leima Tu'atonga

Leima's education story is a poignant one. After failing the majority of her primary education, she was advised that she "wouldn’t make it".

Talei Peckham

I was born in Auckland, spent my childhood in Fiji then moved back to New Zealand when I was 10 years old. Read more about Talei.

Robin Iakopo Yates

Victoria 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.

Junior Ulu

Junior Ulu graduated with a Master's degree in Development Studies with Distinction. He is now doing his PhD in Development Studies.

Higano Perez

Higano Perez says his degree in International Relations and Development Studies gave him a better understanding of what is happening in the world and why.

Chelcia Gomese

My Master’s programme has opened great opportunities for me such as undertaking an internship at the SPREP in Samoa.

Viliame Lewenilovo

Viliame is a medical Doctor and surgeon who is now broadening his horizons by studying for a further degree in Commerce, majoring in Economics and Finance.

Elyjana Roach

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...

Emelihter Kihleng

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.

Sera Lusia Tokakece

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

Vergil Narokobi

If you can brave the cold, by coming to Victoria you would have made an excellent choice for your education, whether undergraduate or postgraduate.

Te Kura Moeka'a

Te Kura is studying towards completing a Bachelor of Arts majoring in International Relations and Pacific Studies.

Sepelini Mua’au

Sepelini’s advice: “stick to what you like doing, which may not be what your parents want you to do ... something good will usually come up”.

Andrew Tuigamala

Andrew was impressed with Victoria's support for its Pasifika students, and its many student facilities.

Gibson Ngibe

I see Pasifika people as one big family dispersed in various small islands in the vast Pacific Ocean. We value family, friendship and community.

Helena Lawrence

The marine environment captivated my interest ever since I was a child. To my surprise, I also enjoyed Statistics which became one of my favourite subjects!

Save Mataele

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.

Grace Sotutu

Grace’s advice for niu students is to reflect on what it they want to achieve, look at the steps they need to take and to be intentional about what they do.

Rita Iosefo

A love the Tokelauan language as well as a love for working with Pasifika children has allowed Grace to complete a Bachelor degree in Early Childhood Education.

Sarah Andreassend

Sarah graduated from Victoria with an undergraduate degree in May 2015 and received a Pasifika Award for Academic Excellence. See how her hard work payed off.

Eamon Lui-Fakaotimanava

Eamon believes “it is not enough for our Pasifika students to just aim for a pass. We should be aiming much higher – to pass well and to strive for excellence".

Victor Rodger

Victor's personal journey, as a gay Samoan man raised by Born-Again Christians in Christchurch has inspired his life-long love of writing.

Felicia Manase

I felt a sense of belonging among other Samoan students. Performing Samoan song and dance with VUSSA gave me a confidence boost. Read more.

Tristram Lupo-Samoa

Tristram treats his study the same way that he approaches sports—by training hard and being organised he gets results.

Jay Va'ai

My advice for potential postgraduate students is to be clear about the aim of your thesis early, focus and most importantly, learn to network.

Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu

Dianne's research is centred around developing a cancer vaccine treatment which will shortly be tested on patients.

Nicole Reddy

Nicole's advice for first year students is to not think of yourself as an average student or think that getting average grades is acceptable.

Masina Taulapapa

My advice to niu students is to not be scared of doing something different. Being a Pacific Islander can give you an advantage in many different areas.

Raphael Hilbron

A Victoria law and arts graduate, Raphael has been a journalist and communications professional for over 20 years.

Priscilla Va'a-Agius

Priscilla's major influences for continuing on to higher education were her parents, and especially her mother, Lasela.

Dr Anna Joskin

Anna was a lecturer at the University of Papua New Guinea when she decided to further her studies to gain a PhD in Education at Victoria University.

(The late) Dr Dona Ruru

I thoroughly enjoyed my years of study at Vic. I grew academically, spiritually, socially and culturally through the diverse student composition.

Zefi Keritina

For Zefi from the Solomon Islands, the challenge of postgraduate study has been a welcome one, helped along with the support of her friends and colleagues.

Dr Pala Molisa

Victoria has world-class teachers and researchers who are passionate about education, says Pala.