BEST Pacific Institute of Education celebrated 30 years of empowering the Pasifika community into a career-focused education path at its recent graduation at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau.
CEO Rachel Skudder says the event was a time for graduands “to honour their families, loved ones and supporters with their hard won achievements in gaining tertiary qualifications that are relevant to today's labour market, and many of these Graduands have already secured employment”.
Keynote speaker, Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon. Alfred Ngaro, recalled when he was a 20-year-old second-year electrical apprentice.
He was helping a friend wire up classrooms for a woman that had a passion and desire to provide education services for young Pacific people to lead them on to employment.
That woman was Anita Finnegan, the founder of BEST, who was honoured at the 2017 graduation for three decades of service.
“She impressed me as a woman with a vision who knew what and where she wanted to go,” says Minister Ngaro.
“What she has left is an outstanding legacy for Rachel to take on, and with it the challenges and responsibilities.
“BEST’s record of finding employment for its graduates suggests they’re in good hands.”
The institute has a pivotal role to play in providing a tertiary education pathway, and employment platform, for Auckland’s Pasifika communities.
“Auckland is the growth engine of New Zealand’s economy and also has the largest Pacific population of any city in the world,” said CEO Ms Skudder.
“Our fastest growing Pacific population is a major contributing factor in why Auckland has been named internationally as the 4th most Super-Diverse city in the world.
“This unique demographic profile, coupled with the high level of socio-economic disparity in Auckland for Pasifika, demands an extraordinary response by us, by communities, Pasifika church leaders, Pasifika business leaders, Government and by education stakeholders.”
Coinciding with that, Rachel welcomed the growing and increasingly diverse ethnicities from beyond the Pacific that represent Auckland today.
“In 2017 and for the next foreseeable three decades, in the context of our super-diversity, BEST will continue to play an increasingly important role for Auckland and for Pasifika prosperity,” she said.
“For Auckland to succeed, Pasifika must succeed.”
About BEST Pacific Institute of Education
BEST Pacific Institute of Education is an education provider that strives to see each and every student exceed their own expectations and ambitions, helping them discover how much they can achieve during and after their studies. For more information go to their website.