Having worked for the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) since 2004 in a variety of roles, Kaliti Bainimara-Kolinisau has invested her energy wholeheartedly into the Pacific community she serves.
Hailing from Somosomo village on the island of Taveuni, in the Cakaudrove Province of Fiji, Kaliti grew up in Lami, Suva with two older brothers and a younger sister.
In 1994, Kaliti pursued tertiary studies in Auckland, before transferring to Wellington at the same time her father Isimeli Bainimara was appointed as Fiji High Commissioner to New Zealand (1996-2002).
Kaliti says she honours her parents, who are now retired and reside in Suva, Fiji, whenever there is an opportunity to serve.
When Kaliti first joined the Ministry in 2004, she started in a back-office role, which was ideal as she was quite shy and introverted at the time.
“I quickly learned that in a small Ministry you get involved in a variety of work, community meetings, providing team support and I began to enjoy the interaction with and serving our Pacific communities.
“In 2010, I was asked to manage the Ministry’s relationship with the Fijian community in Wellington and have loved serving and working alongside the community to establish and implement a number of language initiatives.”
Although this work has come with its challenges, it has not changed Kaliti’s joy of serving, supporting, and celebrating when our communities are successful, she adds.
While she still supports Wellington Fijian community initiatives, MPP’s Central Regional Partnerships Team now leads this work, establishing relationships within the community, providing advice and support to the Wellington Fijian community and other Pacific communities.
Sixteen years after joining MPP, Kaliti has taken on a new role of Director - Pacific Capability, which she started at the end of August.
“I am really grateful the experience and skills gained working in a range of areas at MPP and the community can be further utilised as I continue to serve with a specific focus on nominations and governance,” she says.
Set up in 2019, the Pacific Capability Team supports the development of Pacific governance capability on behalf of MPP, through the provision of nominations and governance development services.
“We are regularly consulted for nominations and appointments to State Sector Boards and Committees and there has also been an increase in interest from private organisations and charitable trusts, seeking our nominations advice,” Kaliti explains.
“Our Pacific leaders have a range of skills and experience and supporting them to be put forward for these opportunities is an important part of my work.”
Kaliti adds she is grateful and blessed to work alongside an amazing Ministry team, to serve Pacific communities in her role as Director Pacific Capability.
“It is an exciting time to be working in this space, and my goal is to help increase Pacific representation on State Sector Boards and Committees.
“Pacific communities have so much to offer in terms of governance skills, experience and expertise in a range of sectors, and I am keen for an increased focus on supporting our Pacific leaders into applying for governance roles.”
The 2019 stock take of Gender, Maori and Ethnic Diversity on State Sector Boards and Committees by the Ministry for Women and the Ministry for Ethnic Communities, indicates Pacific representation on Boards is 4.6 percent, Kaliti says.
“In comparison, Asian is 3.6 percent, Māori is 21.1 percent and European 71.6 percent.
“I am really keen to look into partnerships with organisations and Pacific governance practitioners that provide governance training and development, networking and mentoring opportunities to further support and grow our pool of governance nominees, to contribute to diversity on governance boards.”
For Kaliti, working for a ministry where Pacific values are not only acknowledged but are valued in day to day work is a blessing, she says.
“In this work and particularly as COVID-19 impacts our work and communities, I continue to draw on my Fijian cultural and Christian values that are very closely aligned.
“These include: veirogorogoci (listening and considering others’ points of view); veikauwaitaki (caring and sharing); veitokoni (showing/actively providing support); and veilomani (showing love and kindness).”
Work for us
We are growing and looking for passionate people to share the voice of our Pacific communities.
Our current vacancies are on the MPP job website, be sure to keep an eye out as our team will be growing over the coming months.