Leading from the heart to serve Pacific communities

posted: 9:30 pm - 15th December 2019
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Since 2017, Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Chief Executive Laulu Mac Leauanae (pictured) has endeavoured to ensure the voice of the Pacific community in Aotearoa New Zealand is heard and realised.

With aspirations to see Pacific people in Aotearoa thrive and prosper, Laulu leads from the heart and he inspires Ministry staff to do the same.

Our future is Pacific. We need to make decisions with and for Pacific people.

The Ministry has been laying the foundations for a programme of work focused on supporting current and future generations of Pacific people to be successful in all they do.

“Upon these foundations we have built a partnership between our team of dedicated, passionate and talented staff; and our Pacific community,” Laulu says.

This has not gone unnoticed, and Laulu has been reappointed by the State Services Commission as the Ministry’s CE for the next five years.

Truly humbled, Laulu says his work at MPP is far from over, despite the government agency already achieving a growing connectedness with the Pacific community and key Pacific service providers throughout the country – something the CE considers vital to MPP’s success.

 “I’m really excited by the incredible young people in our Ministry… due to our size, it’s all hands-on deck and our young advisors are delivering on cabinet papers, events, budget bids, regional engagements and are thriving.”

There have been so many times of thankfulness at MPP, including the Pacific Aotearoa Summit on November 13, 2018, he adds.

“It is one day I won’t forget - from the opening set by Tone6 and Saintz Up Performing Arts Academy to welcome the over 500 participants and then Monica Galleti’s journey to success… then the whole day… everyone’s sense of ‘finally’ - we’re getting together, all these various sectors, Pacific communities and leaders.”

Other highlights of the past two and a half years which stick out in Laulu’s mind include the launch of the Pacific Aotearoa Lalanga Fou Report with MPP’s vision and four strategic goals; the Wellbeing Budget 2019; engagements throughout the regions; and the launch and implementation of Tupu Aotearoa nationally.

On November 25, 2019, Cabinet signed off on the All of Government Pacific Wellbeing strategy – this is a significant milestone for MPP. 

Cabinet has approved this strategy will set the Government’s strategic and implementation priorities for improving Pacific wellbeing outcomes that align to the Pacific Aotearoa Lalanga Fou Goals.

Laulu says his aim is to embed this strategy.

Our languages and culture matter. They tell the story of who we are. The future of Pacific languages is fragile.

Changing that is a job for all of us and Laulu is keen to see the Pacific Language Unit as an established and influencing unit that will ensure our Pacific languages thrive, in particular, Cook Islands, Tokelau and Niue languages, and supporting the growth of the Pacific Education Centre (PEC).

“Wellbeing for us means more Pacific people leading fulfilling, meaningful and prosperous lives and I’m excited to see the work the Pacific Business Trust is doing with growing Pacific businesses and Pacific contribution to New Zealand’s economy.

“As a leader, it is rewarding to see MPP staff going on to bigger and greater things within the Public Service, but for them to remember always that while their mind may be with their new agency, their heart and service remains firmly with our people,” Laulu says.

Because of our success we know we have what it takes to carry our progress forward and while overwhelming at times, with the Ministry experiencing amazing growth, Laulu says it is his prayer that MPP continues to grow and serve Pacific communities more.