Pasifika community supporting one another

Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban wants to make sure Pasifika colleagues, and most importantly our Pasifika students at Victoria University of Wellington are feeling safe and supported as we all start to get used to the ‘new normal’.

Pasifika staff at Victoria University of Wellington checking in on Zoom.

“Pasifika staff members from the Pasifika Student Success Team, Student Recruitment and Orientation (SRAO) and my Office have been reaching out by phone to our 1,182 Pasifika students this week to make sure they are safe, healthy, and feeling mentally well as we weather a truly unique period of our history,” says Dame Winnie.

Last week saw the team ensuring Pasifika students had the technology and connectivity to continue with their studies, and sourcing computers from the University for those who didn’t. Team members then personally delivered seventeen computers to Pasifika students around Wellington, including six with software specific to Architecture and Design.

They have also connected with the Pasifika student cohort via social mediae-newsletters, phoning and sharing their contact details, along with staff from Va’aomanū Pasifika. Pasifika staff in the Library, Student Learning and Student Finance have also provided details to students who need answers to specific queries about their services, and Wellington University International have been working closely with our New Zealand MFAT Scholarship students.

Pasifika staff members are also engaging with each other online. Yesterday, Dame Winnie facilitated the first weekly Pasifika Talanoa with Pasifika academic and professional staff that could attend via Zoom. It is a good way to share information across our faculties and service units and to check in with each other.

“Building strong relationships is key to the success of all Pacific peoples, and working together, both within our own Pasifika cultures and with other parts of the University, is in our DNA,” says Dame Winnie.

“Now that we have all participated in Student Engagement Day, it is time to rest as we prepare to continue to support our students online over the coming weeks. Let’s remember to keep to your bubble to protect each other and the vulnerable communities around you during this extraordinary time.”