Laukau | Māngere, Auckland

“I think it was the time when the Christchurch attack happened; and during that time, the Muslim community was going through such heartache and pain.

And during that time, I was studying, and there was a day where they allowed us to wear their cultural-wear over our heads, in show of support, and I think it was during that time, I saw a lot of students at AUT who were doing the same, and it really brought like a connection. 

Of course, we can’t take way the loss of their families and their heartache, but just showing that form of support through their cultural-wear just showed them that we were in support of whatever they were going through even though we could not personally feel what they were going through, but just letting them know as a sign and a symbol that we’re here for them. That connection is just, it’s just a reminder. It doesn’t matter, you know, what race, religion, colour we are. We’re all still human, and just to remember that humanity is more important than…that it’s the main thing that’s most important, is remembering the value of people is the essence of it all. Remembering people for who they are, and the value – just the value of a life.

I’ve been here in Māngere for about 20 years. I am Tongan, and my roots are from there. My parents,  grandparents, and one thing that I’ve grown connected to whilst growing up is that Pacific, the Tongan culture and tradition, remembering our roots, and just remembering who we are, and the essence of who we are.  And so for me, that’s something that’s really instilled within me, is knowing who I am, where I come from. We come from a little village in Tonga, Nukunuku and also my grandparents from Kolomotu’a and it’s just remembering their sacrifices. 

My parents moved here like 30 years ago, with absolutely nothing, and they worked. Sorry. You know they’ve worked a very hard, and it’s not just my parents. It’s a lot of our Pacific parents out there who have migrated here for a better life for the future generation, and so that’s really what keeps me going, is the people, ensuring that they, I guess, reach their potential, and they have the same opportunities.”

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