Janelle Augsburg grew up watching her mum give without hesitation.
Her mother is also the reason she has been presented with the Auckland Council Community Star category win at the 2019 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards.
“My mum was always the person people came to if they were ever in a pickle – and whether it was for a night or a few years, there was always room at our home,” Janelle says.
“Mum is my role model … she made sure that I knew what it truly meant to serve my community – not as an extracurricular activity but something that should be a natural part of my life.”
Janelle, 23, is of Tongan and New Zealand European descent, and is currently in her final semester at the University of Auckland, studying a Law and Arts conjoint (BA/LLB) double majoring in Pacific Studies, Politics and International Relations.
From the MATES mentoring scheme to UniBound, she has been a strong mentor to other Pacific young people and was selected as an ongoing mentor for the Pacific students studying towards a Tertiary Foundation Certificate.
She is a current member of the Edmund Rice Camps Auckland Committee.
Janelle is also an entrepreneur, having established Hau Lelei, where she sells handmade clay earrings; and she also has a YouTube channel and social media platform she uses to share her story as a Pacific and Palagi young woman.
Currently, Janelle is creating a podcast with two other Pacific women, Emma Takataka and Taute Va'ai called Untouched Spaces - with my basket and your basket the people will live.
“This podcast will be for Pacific youth and will be a platform for us to talk about a plethora of topics including discussions surrounding the Pacific experience and how it fits into New Zealand society,” Janelle says.
“They are platforms to create a space for Pacific empowerment.”
Janelle says winning this award is special as it gives her the opportunity to showcase the amazing organisations she has worked with, and the hard work they are putting in for the community.
“It will also allow me to show Pacific youth what is possible when you put your mind to something.
“For too long I was too insecure to put myself forward but now I am able to express the importance of understanding your value and taking every opportunity head-on.”