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Fun and whanaungatanga: The secret ingredients for Fanau Whānau Day

Māori fry bread, Samoan Koko rice, toast, spreads and cereals were on the menu for Unitec’s first Saturday trial of Fanau Whānau Day, along with a fun game of breakfast bingo.

The breakfast was a great start to the day, says Falaniko Tominiko, Director of Pacific Success; and really enjoyable for the families and students who appreciated the kai, and the opportunity to mix with staff and enjoy the hospitality.

“Everyone participated and had a lot of fun. We had over 200 RSVP, but with the weather against us, got around 40 attendees on the day.

For the Saturday trial, we were always mindful that sports might go against us so it was great to see the engagement despite the weather.”

Graduates Keisha Rawiri-Paulo (Bachelor of Architecture), Autalavou Tupuiliu (NZ Certificate in Construction Trade Skills) and Student President Aroha Dykes (Bachelor of Social Practice), talked through the realities of student life; what it’s like as a student, the challenges they have faced and how they overcame them.

Peseta Sam Lotu-liga, DCE Pasifika, Partnerships and Support, was impressed by the panel and their strong sense of purpose and belonging.

“The graduate panel were articulate and showed real warmth with their kōrero and insights,” says Peseta.

Although each person had a different backstory, they all acknowledged the support of aiga as being key to their success, along with making the most of the academic and support services available at Unitec.”

Juggling day-to-day priorities, family-life as a single parent or having to make sacrifices when it came to whānau duties like attending family functions, were some of the challenges the panel mentioned.

“What was most impressive,” says Peseta, “was that despite the difficulties and challenges, each had a strong sense of purpose…they knew their ‘WHY’.

They knew who they were doing this for; their family, their tamariki and their community, which ultimately helped them achieve success.”

A big thank you goes to the staff that gave up their Saturday and came along. We’re always looking keep building on the successes of Fanau Whānau Day and would love to hear from anyone with new ideas and recommendation.
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