Executive Committee

The National  Executive are your modern-day navigators.  The role of the APSTE Executive is to connect Pasifika staff who work in the Tertiary sector.  We do this through:

  • being a national body so that the collective voice of Pasifika aspirations and concerns can be identified and communicated to key stakeholders in the sector
  • advocate for increased support for Pasifika Allied and Teaching staff in Tertiary Education 
  • providing a village platform for Pasifika Tertiary Educators to network and share best practice

We are currently navigating a vision exercise for the future of APSTE.  We welcome your feedback.  Thus far we have discussed some of the future foci could be:

  • Nurturing Partnerships through the Va / Safe Space
  • Advocacy through Sector Leadership and Equity issues 
  • Promoting our unique Pasifika Cultural Capital 

APSTE Executive Committee Members are elected for a two-year term at the Annual AGM held during the APSTE Conference.  The current Exec was voted in at the 2019 Conference at Unitec, Auckland.  The Executive works closely alongside the Regional Coordinators who keep us connected with what is happening across Aotearoa. 

If you would like to speak to any of us regarding issues you may be facing, ideas for engagement or for additional support, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

*Also a huge meitaki maata / thanks goes to Sonny Teio from Otago Polytechnic Auckland who has offered to manage our APSTE website

Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai

APSTE Chairperson
Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai – Pacific Community Engagement Manager
University of Otago
E: nina.kirifi-alai@otago.ac.nz

Talofa lava from the Samoa! 

My name is Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai. I hail from the beautiful islands of Samoa but moved to New Zealand to study a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies at the University of Auckland.

In 2002, she relocated to Dunedin to take up the temporary position as Manager of the Pacific Islands Centre at University of Otago. “With the Pacific Islands Centre you have to engage with the students’ communities to demystify tertiary education. That is the Pacific way. Pacific community and parents feel comfortable knowing that there is this place here at Otago for their fanau (children). I believe that we are the only university that does it well and we’re seeing the rise in student numbers every year.”

Tofilau Nina believes education is the game-changer for the Pacific community and wider Aotearoa and wants to continue encouraging students down to Otago.

“If they can change themselves and their communities just imagine the change they can make in society.”

She believes her new role as Pacific Community Engagement Manager in Auckland will help continue the growth the University has seen in Pacific student numbers and more.

APSTE Vice Chairperson
Vivianne Paselio –
Manukau Institute of Technology

E: viv.paselio@manukau.ac.nz

Warm Pasifika greetings to one and all. My name is Vivianne and I am of Samoan descent.

My humble beginnings hail from the mountain banks of Porirua, Wellington and currently residing in the land of milk and honey in South Auckland. My family consists of a kind, loving and gentle natured husband and six blessed sons in whom we love and cherish very much.

I work as a Success Coach for the Te Ara Oranga team at the Manukau Institute of Technology and count it a privilege to be standing on the shoulders and continuing the wonderful work that previous APSTE committee members have already cultivated and achieved.

What i continue to learn daily is that leadership is not about self, it’s about the people that we’re serving or the mission that we’re trying to accomplish together.

I hope to lead and be of service to our Pasifika people with LOVE as my highest goal and kindness to be my action.

APSTE Secretary
Olga Katoa – Student Advisor Pacific
University of Waikato

E: olga.katoa@waikato.ac.nz

Ke Ola, Kia Orana and Warm Pacific Greetings!

My name is Olga Katoa, I am a Cook Island-Pakeha who was born in Aotearoa.

My Dad’s side of the family mainly descend from Wale (Pukapuka), but we also have ties with Manihiki and Rakahanga. My Mum’s side of the family are from Australia and Wales.

I grew up in Auckland but am now based in Kirikiriroa working as a Student Advisor- Pacific at the University of Waikato.

I am passionate about supporting Pasifika through their academic journeys.

Education can be a resource that empowers not only individuals, but families and communities.

It is a privilege for me to be a part of APSTE and work alongside other Pasifika staff to support one another, talanoa and advocate for Pasifika in education (both staff and students.)

APSTE Treasurer
Cecilia Tupou – Systems Accountant
Ara Institute of Canterbury

M: +64 21 948 629
E: cecilia.tupou@ara.ac.nz

Malo e lelei! 

I am a first-generation NZ born Pasifika, Dad is Tongan, mum Pakeha.  I am a mum with one child (almost 4), and my sister and niece (10) are living with me in Christchurch.  I work for Ara Institute of Canterbury Ltd as their Systems Accountant.  I love working in the Education industry. 

Being involved in APSTE provides a way for me to connect with other Pasifika, and an opportunity to find out what is happening around NZ in the Pasifika space.  I enjoy running and need to do more of this. I also enjoy walking in the hills and forest and need to do more of this.  I enjoy reading and sleeping and need to do more of this.  Busy days at the moment, but loving life!

Pale Sauni – MJ Impersonator
Ako Aotearoa
E: pale@palesauni.com

Pale Sauni is a Pasifika Education COnsultant for MaP Consultants and is Samoan born and New Zealand raised. Pale’s background beings in social work and has spent 12 years in Auckland designing, managing and maintaining Pasifika mental health services.

Pale moved into Pasifika education nearly 20 years ago managing and developing student achievement, organisation wide engagement and Pasifika strategies for success during which time he has been a strong Pasifika advocate and voice into a number of government education providers.

Pale is a dynamic facilitator and presenter and is a master of ceremony extraordinaire. In his limited spare time he enjoys playing touch rugby and pottery.

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