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Pacific Stories and News

Nai Talanoa

A stepping stone for youth in South Auckland

“I live where they live. I went to the same schools and walked the same streets,” Anita Vaafusuaga of DNA First Solution (left) says. This shared life experience provides Anita with insights into the needs of her workforce and uniquely equips her to offer local rangatahi tailored opportunities and support.

“I left school at 13 with no qualifications and didn’t start this business until 2012 at age 55. I hope that the people who work with us here can see my story and know that it’s never too late.”

DNA 1st Solution provides contract packing, warehousing, order fulfilment, distribution, and staffing solutions from their headquarters in Onehunga. “When I first took over the business, it was packaging only. I saw an opportunity to reach the youth in our community – those who had dropped out of school or didn’t want to go – and get them off the street and off the benefit. It’s been a long road and we’ve made a lot of structural changes to make it work, but we’ve never stopped asking questions and responding to the needs of our community.”

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Hanga-Aro-Rau team eyes prosperous future for Pacific People

Aotearoa New Zealand’s Pacific populations are expected to reach half a million people by 2028, Infometrics’ forecast shows, with younger Pacific people the fastest-growing demographic compared to other ethnic groups.  Despite this growth, Pacific people remain under-represented in our workforce, and where they are present, they are predominantly in lower-paid roles. Hanga-Aro-Rau Workforce Development Council (WDC) recognises these trends and the opportunity they present.

“Enabling business to better support the increasing Pacific workforce will enrich the lives of those on the job while addressing critical skills shortages across the manufacturing, engineering and logistics sectors,” says Fred Luatua, Hanga-Aro-Rau Pacific Workforce Development Team Lead.  “Our industries are crying out for workers, and it’s so important for Aotearoa as a whole, and for our economy, to work collaboratively and lift opportunities for Pacific peoples.  The more we strengthen this particular workforce, the more productivity we can expect to see across our industries.”

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Supporting Pacific Women in the workforce

“We need employers and leaders who know our struggles and aspirations,” says Manaini Cama (Fiji), Pacific Workforce Development Lead for Hanga-Aro-Rau Workforce Development Council (WDC).  “Pacific women need to see our sisters up there; to be able to say, ‘She’s wearing the same five hats I’m wearing and she’s nailing it’.  That’s how we inspire others to know they can do it, too.”

“Diversifying our workforces to better attract, retain and progress women is a critical enabler to strengthen the New Zealand economy.” says CE Philip Alexander-Crawford. “Hanga-Aro-Rau is committed to building a more productive and prosperous New Zealand by giving employers the skills to attract and retain a rapidly changing workforce”.  Hanga-Aro-Rau acknowledges that Pacific peoples generally remain under-represented in our industries, despite being among the fastest-growing demographics in Aotearoa.  Where they are present in the workforce, they are predominately in lower-paid roles, with pay and progression inequities notably exacerbated for Pacific women who make, on average, $0.75 for every dollar that Pākehā men make.

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