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.
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.
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.