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Young, Free and Pacific!

Young, Free and Pacific!

On Tuesday 28th June my fellow Pasefika peers and I attended an event named 'Young, Free and Pacific!'. 

The theme this year for young, free and pacific is "Our voices matter and we deserve to be heard". The whole idea of this event was for us young pasefika to listen to other women's experiences about their life and their own stories about their own identity. It was also a moment for us students to acknowledge our identities as young Pasefika women. This event gave students the chance to feel empowered and bold. It felt great to be in a supportive and safe environment where we could feel comfortable and confident embracing our cultures and our identity. 

In each of the speeches that the women had presented in front of us, they had talked about the 3 Es - Embrace, Explore and Empower. The first speech was about embrace, she talked about how she struggled to get through life when she lost one of her loved ones, but she got through it by doing what she loves and making her loved one proud. The second speech was about Explore, she talked about how she explored a lot around the world, but she was also trying to find out who she was as a person and what her real dream was in life, she later explained that we should put ourselves out there and to take as many opportunities as we can. The third and final speech was about empowerment, she talked about how she was surrounded by a group of people and started doing things that she wasn’t proud of. She was later inspired to start a new journey and decided to study Law and Criminalization at the University of Auckland. 

 It was an amazing opportunity for many of us as hearing the speeches gave us the inspiration to not only be ourselves, but to also be courageous and have the motivation to pursue our dreams.  

Emeline Pusa

On the 28 of June a group of Sacred Heart Pasifika students were given the opportunity to attend a youth conference, Young, Free & Pacific. 

Throughout the day we were lucky to have 3 Pasifika Women come in and share their testimonies about the “3 Es “. These are "Explore, Empower, Embrace". They all shared stories about a time in their life where they were walking on eggshells or were going through some downfalls and then went on to share how one of the "3 Es" were applied to them and their situation. One of our speakers had spoken about how she went from dealing with drugs to graduating Uni with a Commerce paper studying Criminology. They talked about the importance of identity, of culture and of ourselves. We were taught the importance of not being ashamed of our culture and that we have a voice and deserve to be heard, which was this year’s theme for YFP. It is important to explore and embrace all parts of our culture, to share its and not be afraid of what the world has to say, and the last "E" empower. We are empowered each day by the role models in our lives in which we should never take for granted. Our cultures morals and values are embedded in us through the stories we have been told while growing up, our families and ancestors. These were some of the words that were shared all throughout the day by our speakers, host, and their team.  

 We had also had the opportunity to split off in 3 different workshops set up for us. Dance, Singing & Photography. Each these workshops represented and showed the power of our cultures that flow throw these 3 workshops and how we can connect through them to get in touch with each other and our culture. Dance, using actions to reach out and show emotion. Singing, sharing our voices & speaking our truth. Photography, exploring each corner of our culture and sharing it through picture and art. To sum the day, it was full of beautiful faces, food, laughs & people! We all left with the biggest smiles & full tummies! 

Kerstin Leleisiuao

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