Hero photograph
Pacific Island Centre Visit
Photo by Marion Brinsley

Tupuranga* – Māori and Pacific Island Student Leadership Team 

Lydie Leurquin —

I have been fortunate enough to be Pasifika Prefect this year and have facilitated the Tupuranga meetings throughout the year. 

This year, we have come up with new initiatives which will continue on through to next year and develop our ideas further and further such as the Te Reo wristbands to encourage, promote and normalise Te Reo greetings and speaking, creation of a new logo to reflect the Māori and Pasifika mahi we do, and design an LPHS values poster in Te Reo and possibly other Pasifika languages to offer to the school. If you are keen to help us make these things happen and/or have other ideas to promote Māori and Pasifika culture and achievement within the school please come along to our meetings to not only contribute to making a difference in our school but also to be part of a really cool community.

The Tupuranga Homework Programme has continued this year with teachers from various departments offering their time to help the students with their homework which has been extremely generous of them. I have also organised a trip to the Pacific Island Centre to see the support service that the University of Otago offers and to show the students the campus and what the University is. At the Pacific Island Centre, we were received very kindly by Christine Anesone who is the Pacific Island Community Liaison Officer and we were joined by Pacific Island students studying at Otago so that they could share their experiences with the PI centre and share with us some words of wisdom. Some of these were Pacific Island specific but the majority of them were words of wisdom that should be heard by every student thinking of going to University. Their words of wisdom:

1. Don’t underestimate the importance of study groups as it feeds ideas between each other but it also brings people closer together and stronger friendships can be secured.

2. If you have the opportunity to live in a Hall of Residence then you should take it as it provides a different experience and allows you to meet new people from around the country.

3. Before Semester starts, it is wise to look at all of the support units that the University offers and know where to go if you need help at any point throughout the year.

4. Staying open minded, taking advantage of the opportunities that come to you and putting yourself out there.

5. Taking interest papers as well as your Bachelor can be a good idea as it can broaden your knowledge and you may discover a hidden passion.

But possibly the most important piece of wisdom that these amazing students gave us, was to try your hardest at school because your marks and your grades do matter. This visit to the Pacific Island Centre was “very informative” and it “gave a wider perspective of what the University offers” as well as “giving more insight into the different paths that you can take” and learning about “the flexibility of career planning”. When we were there, it felt like we were a big family which is always something that is greatly appreciated.

It has been such a wonderful year for Tupuranga and I am so glad that I have been a part of it for 5 years!

* "Tupuranga" - This name is derived from the Tuvaluan word ‘tupu’, meaning chief; and the Maori word ‘ranga’, descending from the words rangatahi (youth) and rangatira (chiefs). We felt that this best represents who we are as a group, with the cultural element giving us our sense of focus." (Jacobi Kohu-Morris, 2015 Head Boy for LPHS).