The staff Professional Learning focus for today was on Pasifika cultures. We were privileged to hear the voices of some of our Pasifika student leaders deliver presentations. In the session, hosted by K’Shana, we were challenged to think about what the Pasifika students bring to Newlands College.
Stefanija talked to the whole staff about holding two different cultures in her identity: Samoan and Latvian. She talked about about how we needed to be open to the concept of being two things, and that what we present on the outside might not tell the whole story. She encouraged us all to think twice about having pre-conceived notions because there are already enough people doing that.
Renee spoke about what the Pasifika students bring to the school. She summarised it with three things:
- Pride in our culture
- Passion and talents
- New ways of learning
She gave examples of all these things including what community means and the sisterhood, brotherhood and spirit of me whakamatau that is in the school. She finished by saying: “We are not just your priority learners we are so much more than that. We are not a stereotype.”
K’Shana set out to answer the questions: What positives are in our DNA? To do so she reflected on her whole school journey and was really honest about her experiences. She talked about her growth of self-confidence and struggle to find her culture in her voice at Newlands College because of the fight against the stereotypes of the western world. She discussed the positives that Pasifika students brings such as humour (to balances the seriousness of life), loud and proud mouths, a realistic and strong-minded approach, sporting and musical talents, and the dynamic of more cultures. Most importantly, our Pasifika students bring a sense of family within the larger Newlands College family.
The three speakers were absolutely outstanding, bringing the staff so much to reflect on. It was a very special Thursday morning and we are really grateful for their stories.