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Striving for a good life - Ministry for Pacific Peoples

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Lisa Tou-McNaughton is adamant in her belief that everyone deserves a good life.

This belief is also the Tupu Aotearoa Manager’s (Southland/Otago) mantra, and she endeavours to ensure this becomes reality for Pacific communities in the regions.

Lisa joined the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Tupu Aotearoa team in October 2019 and makes sure Pacific communities and service providers in Southland and Otago are aware of, and understand the employment and training programme.

Of Cook Islands and New Zealand descent, Lisa is a true Southern girl.

Raised in Invercargill, she studied at Otago University in Dunedin and worked as an educator for nearly three decades.

During her career she has sat on the Pasifika Education reference group and helped to establish the first Polyfest in Southland.

Lisa acknowledges Pacific people who ventured to the South before her generation, had an extra measure of courage as they entered uncharted territory.

"Colder, with less support than in the larger region they forged ahead and created their own flavour of Pacific," Lisa says.

"It is part of my destiny to continue the work of our original voyagers."

Pacific values anchor Pacific communities, with each generation weaving the foundations for the next to stand on, Lisa says.

These values are integral to all the work MPP does with Pacific peoples in Aotearoa.

Lisa’s work involves weaving the Pacific Vision Lalanga Fou goals of Thriving Pacific Languages, Cultures and Identities; Prosperous Pacific Communities; Resilient and Healthy Pacific Peoples; and Confident, Thriving and Resilient Pacific Young People into all she does, she adds.

While Lisa is kept busy in her Tupu Aotearoa role, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit New Zealand, work became even more frantic.

"Being flexible has been necessary, and it has been interesting learning new things, making new connections and advocating for our communities," she says.

"My role has expanded to working not only in the Tupu Aotearoa space but also closely Whānau Ora, RSE workers, local government, and Civil Defence, along with working with communities in Central Otago, to name a few."

Lisa enjoys her varied and challenging role, which has a positive impact on Pacific communities, and she aspires to create further change for Pacific peoples in the Deep South.

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