Young, Free and Pacific 2023

On Tuesday 30 May, we were privileged to be able to take 11 senior students to the Young, Free and Pacific leadership immersion day at the Mangere Arts Centre. This annual leadership day is about empowering our Pacific heritage students in their identity as young, free and Pacific. The students attended creative workshops throughout the day to assist them in articulating and expressing their Pacific identity through music, drama, dance and spoken word. The theme of the day for 2023 was ‘Rangatira mō āpōpō? Rangatira i tēnei rā!‘: Leaders of tomorrow? Leaders for today! Our Westlake students were inspired by the incredible women guest speakers from Massey University, Saintz Dance Academy, and especially enjoyed the performance by The Tonga Sisters from Hawai’i.

This is what some of the girls had to say about the day:

“It was an amazing experience – it taught us how to be a leader of today and to not be shy of who we are as Pasifika girls.”

“It was great to connect with Pasifika students from other schools and celebrating what we have in common. It gave us the confidence to embrace our Polynesian heritage and to not be afraid to show this to others in our school community. We really loved hearing The Tonga Sisters and meeting them in person”

”The girls that were performing spoken word were really inspirational and it was great to hear their point of view of what it is like to be Island girls growing up in ‘white schools’ and how they can rise above their past situation.”