Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Paying tribute to my Tū Mau Mana Moana sisters with Love, Beauty and Grace

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Photo: Supplied
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Angie Enoka | Guest Writer

Dr Angie Enoka has worked in many roles across the New Zealand civil service for many years. To mark International Women’s Day, March 8th, she gives her reflections on her journey through the Tu Mau Moana leadership programme for Pasifika people in the public service. 

To celebrate the tremendous contributions and achievements made by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future, I want to honour this important day, reflecting on our Tū Mau Mana Moana journey with my Pacific sisters in the New Zealand public service.

We have been selected into a carefully curated Pacific leadership programme, Tū Mau Mana Moana, involving a number of live-in retreats around the motu over the course of a year. We had a vision of aspiration; to uphold and uplift Pacific leadership and grow a movement. 

The beginning of our voyage and some parts of our journey saw hindrance by the powerful waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning we have to find other ways to connect, opting for a virtual connection from our own homes. It was not a smooth sail. Yet, we stayed committed and followed our journey of exploration into an ancient island homeland in this unique leadership voyage.  

Our exploration introduced us to our ancestral knowledge listening to the sounds of the waters and tides, the feel of the shores, what we see in the deep forest, and on the mountains, the smell of our rivers, the taste of our villages, and the magnificence of the stars and skies of the Pacific.

Photo: Supplied

The dream is to recognise and take stock of the journey’s waves of statistics which paint a very sad picture in which Pacific people and in particular Pacific women, are grossly under-represented in leadership within the New Zealand public sector. A depressing trend that does not adequately reflect the makeup of New Zealand’s diverse population.

Although the public service is becoming more diverse and more inclusive, female Pacific leaders continue to be under-represented. 

The public service workforce data published by Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission shows Pacific women are massively underrepresented in the tiers of management and having the lowest average salaries in the public sector. 

As at 30 June 2022, the 39 Public Service Leaders reported being 87.2% European, 17.9% Māori, 7.7% Asian and 2.6% Pacific Peoples. Pacific women have ground to make up, especially in senior leadership roles. 

Dr Karlo Mila was the anchor of our waka addressing this underrepresentation with a gift of a movement towards extraordinary leadership. 

Dr Mila brought out the best in each woman paddler, embracing, absorbing and revitalising the ancestral legacies of Te Moana Nui A Kiwa, harnessing the best of what we have right now and nurturing and supporting the most optimal and exciting future. 

During the voyage, we took time and made space to engage deeply in core cultural concepts and reflect on the most pressing issues facing our Pacific peoples. to deepen our own call to leadership.

Our deep relationships of trust became apparent navigating the entanglements of large tsunami waves facing us.

 The waveriders and depthdivers were able to hold on to all paddles and managed to keep our crossing on course. We, women, premised on the idea that we support each other in the rough seas, just like our ancestors who conquered the largest ocean in the world. It acted as a resource to take our leadership to the next level. 

With sheer determination and perseverance, I paddled with my sisters towards the shore armed with our kete of cultural knowledge to succeed in western contexts. 

We have the mana ignited within us of indomitable power to know ourselves, where we come from and our purpose navigating the complex culturally distinctive worlds.

At the shore we were greeted by Anya Satyanand, Chief Executive of Leadership NZ with a tremendous village and a group of dedicated people who contributed to our intrepid voyage. 

On 24th February our voyage was celebrated at an event in the Beehive as the first evolutionary wave of Tū Mau Mana Moana leaders hoping to reap the diversity dividend for a better New Zealand.

I express my deepest aroha and gratitude to all the women voyaging in the inaugural Tū Mau Mana Moana waka as you all are an important force for upscaling Pacific women’s leadership, influence and impact in the public sector. 

Let us prepare for new journeys, to conquer new oceans and absorb the beauty of new constellations. 

    • Anita Edwards (Te Tikanga a Rangi o Tū Mau Mana Moana) Ministry of Justice
    • Antonia Aloe (Te Wai Marino o Tū Mau Mana Moana) former Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Social Development
    • Darlene Rastrick (Te Reo Karanga o Tū Mau Mana Moana) Ministry of Social Development
    • Jody Watene (Te Kakano i Ruia i te Moana) Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
    • Itutogia’i Julia Umaga (Te Tikanga o Nuku o Tū Mau Mana Moana) Ministry for Primary Industries
    • Magele Maria Uluilelata (Le Malu o Tū Mau Mana Moana) former Statistics NZ, Hāpaitia
    • Malama Mahe (Le Loimata o Tū Mau Mana Moana) Ministry for Culture and Heritage
    • Peati Tuitama (Pouwhakaruruhau o Tū Mau Mana Moana) Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment<
    • Sisilia Eteuati (Toka Tu Moana o Tū Mau Mana Moana) NZ Customs Service
    • Theresa Lealofi (Te Hino o Tū Mau Mana Moana) Ministry for Pacific Peoples
    • Susana Lepoamo (Te Kete Whānau o Tū Mau Mana Moana) Ministry of Justice
    • Vaiula Roberts (Te Wairere o Tū Mau Mana Moana) former Inland Revenue Department, Ministry of Social Development
    • Angie Enoka (Te Atamai o Tū Mau Mana Moana) former Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, former Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Te Whatu Ora|Health NZ

We paddled alongside our Pacific brothers (Alipate Camaivuna, Ben Tafau, Dan Brunt, Desmond Tupangaia, Gerard van Ooyen, James Mose, Johnathon Hopgood, Joseph Makisi, Keawe Moodmore, Mark Dawson with co-captain Ala’imalo Falefatu Enari) from various agencies striving to be change-makers and cultural knowledge holders. 

From our journey we have the courage to pursue, speak out, and take action. Collectively we all #EmbraceEquity

We honour the skipper and sailing crew of the Tū Mau Mana Moana waka 

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