Head of Department for Health Practice at Ara - Te Pūkenga in Canterbury, Genevieve Togiaso (pictured) has been recognised as a powerful educator and leader of Pacific learners.
Of Samoan descent, Genevieve has been announced the winner of an inaugural Le Moana Mua Award for outstanding Pacific educators in the Te Whatu Kairangi - Aotearoa Tertiary Educator Awards.
These awards recognise excellence in the tertiary sector.
Three decades ago, Genevieve did her nursing training at what was then CPIT, now Ara - Te Pukenga, and worked across the sector in New Zealand and Australia.
Genevieve returned to Ara as Pacific Academic Lead in 2020 and took her role in Health Practice in 2022.
A single mum of four children, and grandmother of one, Genevieve has qualifications in both health and community leadership with extensive knowledge and experience in both clinical and organisational development, leadership, and governance.
The Le Moana Mua Award citation describes Genevieve’s teaching methods as indicating a sound understanding of Pacific cultures, while making Pacific learners feel confident to be their authentic cultural selves in a learning institution.
Genevieve is described as having the ability to connect theory to real life experiences of Pacific ākonga in engaging and powerful ways - drawing on her own nursing experiences to inspire hope and courage.
Humbled by the award, Togiaso acknowledges her ākonga (students) as well as the encouragement, investment and support of her colleagues and family.
"The Samoan proverb ‘Tautua nei mo sou manuia taeao - serve today for a better tomorrow’ reflects my hardworking parents and family that migrated from Samoa for new opportunities,” Genevieve says.
“It is my responsibility to continue to enable opportunities for my community.”
She adds the award had deep personal significance.
"It shows I can be my authentic self, in a curriculum, institution and system embedded with euro-centric pedagogy.
“I feel privileged as a Pacific academic, educator, leader and nurse to embed Pacific ways of knowing to grow and empower our learners."
Hosted by Ako Aotearoa, Te Whatu Kairangi Aotearoa Tertiary Educator Awards (previously known as the Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards) are the most recognised awards for the entire tertiary education and training sector in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The awards ceremony, including the announcement of the Prime Minister’s Educator of the Year Award, for which Genevieve Togiaso is a finalist, will take place at Parliament on September 26.
Visit the AKO Aotearoa website for more information on the Te Whatu Kairangi Aotearoa Tertiary Educator Awards.