The future is brown, female and proud

Marie Young and Sina Wendt-Moore
Marie Young and Sina Wendt-Moore, President of P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A Auckland Branch

It’s amazing to think that just a few short decades ago, my mother’s generation came from the middle of the Pacific, to the heart of the industrial western world.

Now, the women of the Pacific are taking leadership roles in our society. I am humbled to be considered an emerging leader and invited to speak at the 36th AGM of P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A.

It was a pleasure to meet some of the veterans and also up-and-coming Pacific women leaders, like

  • Judge Ida Malosi, New Zealand’s first female Pacific judge,
  • Sandra Kailahi, a pioneer and leader in NZ Pacific broadcasting,
  • Author (and tweeter) Lani Wendt-Young,
  • and the singer who’s taking the pop world by storm, (and my former Sunday School student) Ria.
L-R Lani Wendt-Young, Anapela Polataivao, Stella Muller, Emma Tavola, Marie Young
L-R Lani Wendt-Young, Anapela Polataivao, Stella Muller, Emma Tavola, Marie Young

A lot of people were interested in the field I work in (Social media). Traditionally it’s considered a technology field, and therefore (often unspoken) the domain of white males. I think this isn’t quite right.

Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Hon Hekia Parata, and other guests at the P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A AGM
Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Hon Hekia Parata, and other guests at the P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A AGM

As Professor Damon Salesa once observed, the Pacific is all about connections. It was the ocean that connected us generations ago, when our ancestors skilfully navigated canoes between islands. And today it’s the internet connecting us around the world.

And as it was then, so it is today – the women are the ones doing most of the connecting. The figures bear this out – the World Internet Project consistently shows Maori and Pacific people as the second most socially networked online, and women leading in contacting friends and family more frequently than men. So if our Pacific women could make such huge strides in only one generation, just imagine what we can achieve in the next.

I’ll leave you with the words of Judge Ida Malosi, the hallmark of a Pacific woman are her dignity and humility, and her culture is an anchor, not a weight. Those words are true encouragement to anyone balancing a traditional culture and the modern world.

You can find out more about P.A.C.i.F.I.C.A at their website.

3 thoughts on “The future is brown, female and proud

  • Amar Trivedi

    Shot Marie… Much LIKE!

    About social media, it’s everyone’s domain. It belongs to the explorers, those who try new things, people who take the time to understand, and experiment with it. It’s about being open to learn.

    Social is not something you do. It’s something you are. I can say with certainty, being “social” comes naturally to people of the Pacific.

    With best wishes to Pacifica… men, women, children, young & old.
    I can hear the whole community in chorus: Fa’afetai tele lava, Marie!

    Great post. Happy blogging!

    Reply
    • Salome Mitchell

      Thank you Marie for your post. I agree wholeheartedly!
      God bless P.A.C.F.I.C.A

      Salome Mitchell

      Reply
  • Patrick Ikiua

    Thank you Marie – your post,underlined an observation I have made over the years advising community groups and enterprises. Pacific women tended to outnumber & outperform their male counterparts in the key areas of leadership, implementation & entrepreneurship. This is not a uniquely Pacific phenomenon as young women have long been out performing their male counterparts academically #http://www.otago.ac.nz/christchurch/otago014480.pdf
    On current performance our future is largely in safe hands if they are brown female & proud. For Pacific men the pathway for future influence and contribution is the same: aggressively train your minds, build knowledge that can be utilized wisely with humility for the benefit of your families, our community, our nation

    Reply

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