Talofa lava, my name is Nicholas Cao.
I am a second-generation New Zealand-born Samoan with Irish ancestry, raised in Manurewa, South Auckland. My grandfather hails from the village of Safotu, Savai’i, and both he and my grandmother migrated to New Zealand in the 1940s. I am also Italian. My father hails from the rural village of Stevena di Caneva in northern Italy. I am married and share three beautiful children with my Malaysian-born, Kiwi wife Masha. Outside of work you might find me at a sports ground with my children or having some fun to keep fit and well.
I completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Auckland before working in a variety of roles, which included working as a youth worker for disadvantaged youth in the justice system, and telephone counselling for the national children’s helpline 0800WHATSUP.
My life experiences, faith and family were instrumental in my choosing to return to a further three years of postgraduate study in health psychology at the University of Auckland. In doing so, I was fortunate to receive a Le Va Futures that Work scholarship, so it is a blessing to now come full circle and join the Le Va aiga as Clinical Lead for Mental Health and Addictions.
I’ve been privileged to work in primary mental health and addictions settings, specialist hospital settings (diabetes), to now supporting communities with Le Va. The Pasifika mental health and addictions workforce needs support to keep growing, and to remain at the edge of innovation to meet the needs of our fast-growing and diverse Pasifika population.