Minister of Pacific Peoples Alfred Ngaro revealed his strong South Auckland connection visiting the Manukau Institute of Technology as special guest speaker at its latest networking event hosted by the MIT Pasifika Development team.
Minister Ngaro pointed out that his son Rocxie and daughter Winona (a former SPASIFIK intern) were both students at MIT, with Rocxie taking a chef’s course and Winona a communications degree. Alfred often had the job of picking them after classes.
“I remember Rocxie wanted to take a gap year off, but I said it’s important to finish the job and leave MIT with the ticket in hand, whether it’s a trade qualification, a diploma degree … something tangible,” Alfred recalls.
“So he stuck with it, got his qualifications and is now seeing the world and earning a living while doing so.”
Although Alfred grew up in West Auckland, his wife Mokauina’s family, the Fuemanas, lived in Otara near MIT, as did his uncle. He cites the world success Pauly Fuemana from OMC (Otara Millionaires Club) had with the mid-1990s hit How Bizarre.
“Sometimes we think our circumstances define our destiny, but Pauly is proof that it’s not the case,” he says.
The Minister is determined to push education and to see more Pacific people play a prominent role in government.
“In 2004 Pacific had 7% representation of those working in government. As of last year that had risen, but only by 1.1%. It’s not good enough,” he says.
“Things generally don’t happen unless there’s a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) to aim towards because they hold government to account. If we can grow the Pacific presence and increase our leadership at the higher levels, we will have a voice.”