A Niu Wave of wellbeing for Pasifika youth in Aotearoa
One of the most impactful workshops for me was the leadership workshop, which brought to my mind the countless ways our Pasifika people are already leaders. The way we serve each other and our communities coming from the strong values of reciprocity that we hold in our hearts – Jessica Tupai
Supporting young Pasifika people to succeed is at the heart of Le Va’s youth wellbeing programme, Niu Wave, which equips students with tools to nurture their wellbeing as they study, learn and grow.
In celebration of the 300 high school and tertiary students who completed the year-long 2023 Niu Wave programme, Le Va recently held graduation ceremonies in Auckland, Christchurch, Palmerston North and Wellington.
Jessica Tupai spoke eloquently at the Wellington graduation event, saying, “One of the most impactful workshops for me was the leadership workshop, which brought to my mind the countless ways our Pasifika people are already leaders. The way we serve each other and our communities coming from the strong values of reciprocity that we hold in our hearts.”
Over the course of the year, Pasifika students from across Aotearoa embraced their wellbeing journey alongside their peers, tackling topics like respectful relationships, mental health and the importance of their Pasifika cultural identity.
Year 13 Niu Wave graduate, Tonga Tauataina Helu, said of his two-year involvement with the programme, “Niu Wave for me personally has had a really big impact on my outlook on life and my wellbeing… [It] helped me to build my confidence and to be proud of who I am as a Tongan descendant. It didn’t matter what country you were from or how much percentage of Pasifika you were, the Niu Wave programme welcomed us with open arms and brought us together.”
All Niu Wave participants are recipients of the Toloa Scholarship, which is funded by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) and supports students focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, or STEAM.
Gerardine Clifford-Lidstone, Secretary for Pacific Peoples at MPP, said that pursuing STEAM opens a world of possibilities for young Pacific people. She added, “Pacific people have been underrepresented in the STEAM fields for a long time and the Ministry – along with the likes of Le Va – are working hard to change this scenario.”
Le Va wishes every success to the 2023 Niu Wave graduates and their aiga for their future journeys in these exciting fields.