Challenging disparities in the Tech sector
(Picture caption: Eteroa Lafaele with the Riddet Institute's Melanie Ruffell at the Prime Minister's Pacific Youth Awards.)
Riddet Institute STEM Award
Samoan, 23, from Wellington
Conscious of the lack of Pacific and female representation in the Technology sector, Eteroa Lafaele has aspirations of reversing these disparities.
Of Samoan descent, the 23-year-old from Wellington has been recognised for her efforts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at the 2019 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards, winning the STEM category and an internship at Riddet Institute worth $10,000.
Having completed a Bachelor Degree in Computer and Information Science majoring in Software Development, and work as a Researcher/Programmer, Eteroa has gone on to do an array of work within the Tech space.
She has helped develop a website for a school department; founded a STEM Academy at Auckland University of Technology; and has mentored many Pacific students through Oceania Leadership Network, OMGTech, South Auckland STEM and schools.
Her dream is to become a Chief Executive for a technology company which will benefit the Pacific region, while setting an example for Māori and Pacific people with aspirations to work in STEM.
Receiving this award has helped Eteroa reflect on her time spent in the STEM community and industry, she says.
“It reminds me of the struggles I had to go through and I know still exist.
“I believe with this award it will help me spread awareness of having more Pacific people involved in Technology.”
Grateful to the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) for presenting her with the STEM Award, Eteroa plans to continue creating awareness about the disparities within the New Zealand technology industry.
“Through my campaigns, I have touched many communities - both Pacific and corporate New Zealand.
“I hope I can get people thinking, and changing their perspective so everyone sees Pacific people working in Technology as the norm.”