Levao is the Matua for Le Va and as a respected cultural knowledge holder in Pacific communities, provides cultural and spiritual knowledge, guidance, wisdom, protection, and safety for Le Va and its people.
Levao Tiava’asu’e has worked under the umbrella of the Waitemata District Health Board for almost 15 years. Initially brought into Isa Lei (Pacific community mental health services) to provide cultural leadership and a sense of unifying a disjointed pacific sector, he has seen the positive change at Isa Lei and Tupu (Pacific regional addiction services).
Together with others Pacific leaders such as Dr Francis Agnew and Pulotu Bruce Levi, Levao has helped to shape and influence mental health and addictions sector widely. He championed the formation of the Matua Council for Waitemata and Auckland District Health Boards. He has also worked hard to ensure that the Pacific workforce grew in capacity and capability.
Levao’s personal vision is to see Pacific peoples succeed in the workforce, with more young Pacific leaders leading the advancement of Pasefika in New Zealand. One of his core goals is that only through Unity with humility and respect of one another can this be achieved. He calls it “No Corruption.”
Levao believes Le Va and others must also work with tangata whenua, oakeha and other ethnities with love and compassion.
Now working part time, he is spending more time with his children and grandchildren who are starting to excel in sports. He has five children and 20 grandchildren! A composer and writer of music, he has been the choir master at his church for many years. He often preaches on a Sunday morning at his Methodist church in Glen Eden.
Levao believes that when he fully retires, he is confident that he will leave the sector in a better space because of the many high calibre young Pacific leaders and NGOs, like Le Va, who are ready to take on the mantle of leadership for our Pacific families and communities.
“O le ala I le Pule o le Tautua,” is one of his favourite Samoan proverbs, which translates to “The Pathway to leadership is through service."