Cultural Ambassador, Speaker and Facilitator Daisy Lavea-Timo says the need to lift the voices of Pacific women is particularly acute.
Of Samoan heritage, Daisy says how we tell our stories about ourselves, our practise and each other, matters.
“We become the mirrors, windows and lenses through which we see ourselves, our sisters, and the world around us.
“Our words, wero and our stories shape who and what we are as vaine/ wahine toa of colour, as tagata moana.”
Daisy is the Co-Director of Cross-Polynate Ltd, a group of indigenous creatives who coach cultural competency, facilitate fono and events and help people design bespoke solutions and programmes to help meet their organisational, clients and community needs.
She also works as a StrengthsFinders Coach for Leadership Lab and Te Ora Hou Otautahi, and she is a spoken word Poet.
With COVID-19 influencing all aspects of the community, Cross-Polynate Ltd successfully applied for the Ministry for Pacific Peoples Community COVID-19 Fund (CCF) last year.
The fund supports Pacific communities and groups to leading and drive their own solutions to respond and recover from the impacts of COVID-19, which has affected everyone so differently, Daisy says.
On March 11, Cross-Polynate Ltd’s ideas came to fruition, with the Vaka Speakers Series Foregrounding Women- Indigenous Women Talk Work staged at Christchurch’s Elim Church.
Daisy coached the speakers, and produced the event, which featured eight speakers of Pacific descent from different professional backgrounds, who spoke about how they navigated their spheres of influence as Pacific professionals.
The event was hosted by Actress Evotia-Rose Araiti, while speakers included Author, Senior Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Practitioner in government Sarona Aiono-Iosefa, and Director of two Nspyre-Red Salons, and two-time NZ Hairdresser of the Year, Ronda Shaskey.
Tagata Moana Co-Director Jan-Hai Te Ratana, Angie Malae – Deputy Principal at Te Kōmanawa Rowley School, Curator at Canterbury Museum Hatesa Seumanutafa, Clinical Psychologist Peati Mene-Vaele, Engineer Honor Clark and Tech Champion and Founder of P2P Julia Arnott-Neenee also shared their stories.
The event also featured youth performers Letti Senituli, a year 12 student from Haeata Community Campus, who sang a soulful rendition of Stan Walker’s He Kakano Ahau, as well as 11-year-old Micahlei Timo, who performed the jazz-rap supergroup August Greene’s song, Black Kennedy.
Daisy says a big part of why she does this mahi is to celebrate the incredible vaine/wahine, out loud, in our meeting spaces and places, with each other and with the world.
“There are so many indigenous women who are killing it in their spheres of influence,” she adds.
“Often, they are the invisible leaders or hidden gems in our communities.
“I hope that in sharing their stories my daughters and other girls like them can hear these stories of Pacific excellence, from amazing women who look like them and think, ‘because of her, I can’.
Thanks to the CCF, which has since closed, this high-quality experience was made possible, says Daisy, who is incredibly grateful for the assistance to continue helping her open doors for Pacific people.
Watch the talks from the recent event on the Vaka Series Facebook page HERE.