Young Pasifika students nationwide highlight cultural strengths through projects

From Dunedin to west Auckland, young Pacific people from across the country are coming together to produce Family Violence Prevention videos for the Pasefika Proud Malie Young People Aotearoa Project. The videos focus on the strengths and wellbeing within their respective cultures that contribute to healthy relationships between family members. LAUMATA LAUANO reports



Addressing an issue like family violence in our ethnic communities requires a purpose and knowledge of identity and cultural values that often can only come from within those communities.


And so, the Pasefika Proud Malie Young People Aotearoa Project was born.


It gave a reason for existing and emerging youth groups to form and develop a resource others in their ethnic Pacific groups around the country could also use.


From a song produced by a group of Samoan students in Dunedin, to a four-part series produced by the Tongan youth of Oamaru, North Otago’s largest town, the messages are clear: family, friends, community and a strong emphasis on Pacific identity and values contribute to a better wellbeing, healthy relationships and families free from violence.


Facilitated by Pasefika Proud, the project mobilised young people to think about what in their lives contribute to their wellbeing, promoting their ethnic Pacific values and protective factors that keep them, their friends and their families safe.


Charged with creating a resource that would readily be available online for nationwide accessibility, the groups have developed and produced their projects with three projects already released.


The Samoan youth of Dunedin produced a song which saw 16 local Dunedin students express their stories of stress and family harm as motivation to turn their lives around and succeed in life.


The project details the ways they seek support when times are challenging, they’re feeling down and, in particular, how to give HOPE to others. You can view in their video here:



And in Otago the young Tongan people of Oamaru developed and produced a series entitled Kato Mo’ui Lelei which consists of four videos titled Kato Mo’ui Lelei, which translates to mean a Bag of Wellbeing.


The young people came together to acknowledge their Pacific cultures are a strength to be used positively to prevent violence within families, which the young people of Oamaru demonstrate through their chosen values shared in their series of four videos.


Each video promotes a strengths-based Tongan value that is instrumental in building healthy relationships and maintaining wellbeing in our families and our people.


View the whole series HERE.


Up north in West Auckland, young Tuvaluans came together to produce a video as a reminder to Tuvaluans around New Zealand of their roots and how to live purposeful, violence-free lives through unique Tuvaluan cultural values for this generation and the next.


A migration purpose shared with the wider Pacific is a focal point of these West Auckland Tuvaluan students in their Pasefika Proud Malie Young People Project and they ask the question “what exactly are we as a community aiming to achieve in another’s land?”



There are more projects being produced and released from various Pasefika ethnic groups and from across New Zealand.


Lead adviser for Pasefika Proud Marie Schmidt says the youth have been working hard across the country.


“The ongoing initiative was aimed at young Pacific people and they have really stepped up to highlight the strengths within their culture, and where there have been issues they have opened up about how these issues were addressed to strengthen their bonds with each other, their friends, families and communities.


“We have resources from the Okaihau Tongan young people and Palmserston North Samoan young people ready to be released. 


“You can expect many more exciting things from our Pasifika youth from around Aotearoa.” 


Like and follow any of Pasefika Proud’s social media to watch current videos and to keep updated with any new projects as they are released.









About Pasefika Proud


Pasefika Proud is a Pacific response to focus on community-led solutions that harnesses the transformative power of traditional Pacific cultural values and frameworks to encourage violence-free, respectful relationships that support Pacific peoples to thrive and to build strong resilient families. Because it’s Our Families, Our People, Our Responsibility. For more information go to the Pasefika Proud website.