Fale Pasifika promotes STEM as a pathway in Northland

posted: 9:00 pm - 3rd November 2019
Students take part in Fale Pasifikas STEM Workshop. Photo Susan Botting

(Picture caption: Northland students enjoy Fale Pasifika's two-day STEM workshop. Photo: Susan Botting.) 

Fale Pasifika Te Tai Tokerau envisages great things for Pacific people in Northland, the number of which is growing quickly.

Set up to bridge the gap between island roots and New Zealand-born Pacific peoples, Fale Pasifika has assisted many Pacific people who have settled into the region.

Assisting the Whangarei-based not-for-profit organisation achieve its mission of “supporting and guiding Pasifika people to a positive and prosperous future”, is funding received from the Ministry for Pacific Peoples 2018/2019 Toloa Community Fund.

The Toloa Community Fund is a part of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Toloa Programme, which encourages Pacific students to pursue studies in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) subjects with the aim of increasing the number of Pacific people employed in STEM careers.

It targets community groups who promote and deliver STEM activities to key Pacific influencer groups, such as parents and church leaders.

Fale Pasifika provides services specific to Pacific communities, while supporting communities by advocating for and representing them and holding activities, Manager May Seager explains.

Already this year, Fale Pasifika has delivered STEM workshops, and also the PowerUp FlexiPlus education programme, May says.

“Many of the students who attended our previous STEM workshops have also attended PowerUp.

“This is a great outcome because it means that children, and now their parents, are becoming more positively engaged with education in their households.”

Fale Pasifika has had very positive feedback from families about the STEM workshops, May adds. 

“People are keen for us to do something similar again next year and this is something that we are working on, possibly with KidsCoin. 

“We hope to work more with PowerUp and also with KidsCoin as a way to keep interest in STEM going.  

“As an organisation, we are now more aware of STEM and can promote it through our staff, networks and communications.” 

May is very encouraging to organisations who are considering applying for the 2019/20 Toloa Community Fund. 

“I would encourage organisations to apply for this funding which can help to get some wheels behind an idea. 

“For us, it allowed us to try something in an area that we had been throwing around but were not really sure if we could do it, mainly because we didn't have the funds.”  

 As a result, we now know there are avenues for exploring STEM in this part of the country, while making some very valuable contacts in the delivery of the workshop, May says. 

Fale Pasifika is motivated to keep working towards its long-term goal, to become more sustainable as an organisation, and with the likes of the Toloa Community Fund, it is in a better position to support Pacific people in Northland.

Applications for the 2019/20 Toloa Community Fund and Toloa Tertiary Scholarships open on November 11. Visit MPP for more information.