Former Minister Embraces new Role

The 2017 General Election saw Peseta Sam Lotu Iiga leave more than a decade of local and national politics for a new career as Deputy CEO for the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT), which officially welcomed him in September




Receiving an MBA from the University of Cambridge Business School while in Britain suggests a career switch from politics to education is hardly akin to a fish out of water.


After three terms, over nine years as a New Zealand Government Minister, Peseta looks forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead.


“What makes this position so special for me is the relationship staff and students have with our local communities,” he says.


“We have 5000 Pacific students and over 100 staff here at MIT and we want to see those numbers grow and for those that are here to succeed to their fullest potential.”


Peseta’s family migration story is a familiar one for Pacific people. Growing up in Mangere, he recalls his parents working long hours in often difficult circumstances. But their sacrifices paved the way for him to achieve.


Educated at Mangere Central School and Auckland Grammar School, he graduated from the University of Auckland with a Masters in Commerce (Hons), and Bachelor of Law degrees.


After graduating, he joined an Auckland law firm and later moved to England, where he worked as a financial analyst, then Australia as an executive consultant for a bank in Sydney.


On returning home, Peseta decided to act on his interest in politics. He was elected to the Tamaki-Maungakiekie seat on the Auckland City Council and appointed Chairman of the City Development Committee.


He entered parliament in 2008 as the National Party MP for Maungakiekie and held the seat for three terms, serving as a Minister of Corrections, Minister for Pacific Peoples and Minister for Ethnic Communities.


Peseta credits education as the key to unlocking the opportunities he has enjoyed in life. His aim is for more Pacific people at MIT to do likewise.


“Improving the wellbeing and achievement of not only Pacific people, but all people who choose MIT, is top of my list,” he says.


“I want to see them come here because it’s their destination of choice for a top class education that will enable them to get the degrees and qualifications necessary to secure good jobs and support their families.”



In welcoming Peseta as Deputy and for Pacific (Robert Sullivan is Deputy CEO for Maori), MIT CEO Gus Gilmore says the role presents a strong challenge for the newcomer.


“It’s a single-minded one and that is to enable all of our Pasifika students to achieve their hopes, dreams and aspirations that they had when they started,” he says.


“We may call it educational parity, but it’s far deeper and richer than that as Pasifika, along with Maori, represent more than half our student base.”


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