For proud Niuean Eunique Cabrini Ikiua (pictured), her homeland and ancestors lie at the heart of all she does.
The Auckland-based Microsoft New Zealand Account Executive (Health) is not only making waves in the technology industry, but as a champion for Niue, its language and culture.
On top of her busy role at Microsoft, Eunique leads a Niuean Youth leadership network at the weekend and performs as a musician, Heiressofthegame, by night.
The 24-year-old says she is honoured to be recently named on the 2023 Y25 list, featuring 25 young women and non-binary people who are raising their voices, challenging the status quo, and fighting for a fairer Aotearoa.
“It’s not only a personal achievement, but also a recognition of the people and places I represent,” Eunique says.
“As someone of proud Niue heritage, I try to represent the Rock of Polynesia in everything I do.
“I hope my inclusion on the list will inspire more Pacific people - especially Niueans - to put themselves out there, challenge the status quo and apply for leadership positions.”
A recipient of the Language, Culture and Identity award at last year’s Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards, Eunique says her goal is for Pacific people to have the best of both worlds: to thrive professionally and culturally in all aspects of life.
“My mission at current is to spend the next 10 years leveraging technology and innovation to reverse the current decline in Vagahau Niue speakers within the Niue community in Aotearoa.”
Inspired by her village and people, past, present and emerging she is optimistic her story will also enable more young women to bring their authentic selves to the workplace.
“I want them to feel confident in sharing their experiences and for people to be more intentional when mitigating imposter syndrome, glass ceilings and other barriers.
“In my world, glass ceilings don’t exist, and so when I do stumble upon one, it always means I’m in the wrong building.”
Only time will tell as to what building Eunique ends up in, she adds.
“Hopefully I’ll be serving Aotearoa as an elected member of parliament and making this beautiful country I call home a world leader in education, health, technology and innovation.”
Visit the YWCA website for more information on the Y25 programme.