Probation officer doing his bit for Pasifika youth

Probation officer Albert Tupuola runs a voluntary programme for young Pasifika youth and children in Mt Roskill which is helping improve behaviour and develop leadership qualities and cultural pride within those attending. A spokesperson for the Department of Corrections, who receive copies of SPASIFIK Magazine, says they’re proud that the programme is a great initiative by one of their own



In an interview with RNZ, Albert spoke about seeing a positive difference when educating Pacific inmates on their culture which he believes will help the youth of Auckland.


"It's a connection to your culture and embracing your culture,” he says.


It goes a long way.


“It keeps the kids off the streets. Keeps them occupied and for them to learn our fa'a Samoa and our culture through language and dancing is cool."


On Friday evenings, Pacific youth and children come together to learn Pasifika dancing, singing, music, language, traditions, and culture.


“On Monday evenings they get the boys together for an education session, students also do their homework under supervision, additional tuition is being provided, and the parents are supported as well,” says Alta Van Wyk, the regional communications advisor for the Department of Corrections.


“This programme is not part of Albert’s day job – he does this youth programme as a voluntary service to the Pasifika community.”


About 80 boys from the ages of 4/5 to 18 years of age attend, together with parents and other siblings.


“There is a programme for girls, too, but often the girls just join the boys.”


The comments from parents whose children attend are overwhelmingly positive.



“They can’t praise Albert enough. The mums say their boys, especially, are doing so well; behaviours improve and all kinds of positive qualities develop, like leadership and pride”.


The group gathers at an Auckland Council community centre (Wesley), Mt Roskill.


SPASIFIK publisher Innes Logan regularly donates magazine issues to Corrections for nationwide distribution among the 19 facilities nationwide to help encourage Pacific and Maori inmates to learn to read. He believes the initiative can play a crucial role.


“There will be a conscientious focus on reading and literacy in the next issue (No 74) of SPASIFIK. It’s a privilege to be able to provide magazines to facilities across the nation,” he says.


“In our more than 13 years of publishing, we’ve received letters from inmates from all over New Zealand and as far away as the US, Australia and the Pacific Islands expressing gratitude. Our goal at SPASIFIK is to encourage the love of reading, which opens up so many opportunities for Pacific and Maori.”


Part of creating an environment conducive to positive behaviours for young Pasifika is helping to foster a sense of cultural pride and knowledge of cultural practices which Corrections’ own, Albert, is doing.