On Wednesday 30th October, the Samoa Business Network held its monthly networking evening, this time hosted by the networks Secretary Tim Baice, at the University of Auckaland’s Faculty of Education.
This was the second Networking Evening hosted outside of the SBN headquarters at BNZ Manukau, and was attended by old and new members alike.
Given the location of the venue, we thought it would be appropriate to have a speaker in the field of education, and business. Pulotu Selio Solomon the CEO of Martin Hautus was the perfect candidate to come and share his stories of success, as well as the challenges he has faced in being a strategic part in the development of Martin Hautus.
Pulotu Selio Solomon, an old La Sallian boy with a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration as well as a Bachelor of Education from the University of Auckland, is now CEO of Martin Hautus – the Pacific Peoples Learning Institute, winner of the Pacific Business Trust 'Business of the Year Award in 2007'.
Established by Pulotu Arthur & Maretta Solomon in 1990, who saw the divide in education for school leavers (that did not gain university entrance) and also mature learners. They started with five students in Mangere, South Auckland just over 23 years ago and today have two campuses (Mangere & Onehunga) and a student body which annually numbers over 300. MHI is a category 1 establishment and in 2011 was given a "highly confident" rating by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) for both self assessment and education outcomes during their Education Evaluation.
Pulotu’s passion for the education industry and Pasifika communities is matched by an impressive array of extracurricular commitments, including his roles as the Chairperson of Ministry of Education Pasifika Advisory Group Northern Region, Director of Incredible Angels Early Childcare Centre as well as serving as Deputy Chair on his old high schools’ Board of Trustees.
The former Chair Mangere Community board spent most of the evening talking about the journey in which his parents endured in establishing Martin Hautus, as well as his current journey in overseeing the institute and its future development.
Pulotu spoke mainly about the need to remember the social commitments business owners have to their communities, working towards advancing Pasifika peoples as a core guiding force to the work that he engages in. He also advised network members to be weary of the Finances, to ensure that they understand how they work in order to maintain control over their affairs.
Over the Labour Weekend 2013, the MVPFAFF and GLBTI communities in association with the New Zealand Aids Foundation, and the Love Life Fono Organising Committee, came together for the 5th Bi Annual Love Life Fono. Hosted at the University of Auckland’s Waipapa Marae, the theme of the Love Life Fono was the Voice of the Third Spirit:
'Love Life is about acknowledging our cultural heritage and honouring the special people in our communities. MVPFAFF people were an accepted part of Pacific life and culture prior to Western colonisation, but have faced stigma and discrimination in more recent times. Research shows that HIV resilient societies are societies that are safe and supportive of everyone. Because of existing stigma and discrimination, it is vitally important that mainstream communities in Aotearoa and the Pacific develop supportive environments for sexual minorities. Events like Love Life give our communities a voice and strength that at other times is easily marginalised or can go unheard. Love Life is about empowering our MVPFAFF brothers and sisters to believe in themselves and in their place in this world. The goal of every Love Life Fono is that by the end of the event, participants will have the skills to develop programmes that they can lead in eliminating cultural and social barriers to the health and wellbeing of MVPFAFF communities'.
In support of the event, the Samoa Business Network helped to promote the Love Life Fono via its social media networks as well as sending their Secretary Tim Baice to attend and be part of the Fono.
The attendance at the Fono, over 100 participants of various Pasifika ethnicities over the course of the Fono’s three days, highlighted the significance of the Fono, and the broad based appeal such an opportunity presents to a very diverse Pasifika community.
One of the beautiful things about this fono, was the provision of space for this particular grouping in our Pacific community, often the most marginalised and ignored, to come together to speak about issues relating to their often vulnerable places within our community.
For many participants, this was the first opportunity to meet other MVPFAFF and GLBTI people, as well as meeting leaders and activists within the group such as Phlyesha Brown-Acton and Cindy of Samoa, to learn about the work these amazing individuals engage in, on a daily basis in advocating for our people.
“As the Samoa Business Network is predominantly committed to representing the interests and views of Samoan Businesses, it is only natural that we engage in other work such as this in order to support our people to be the best that they can be, regardless of the domain”.
The Samoa Business Network would like to thank and acknowledge the Love Life Fono 5 Committee; Elton Raharaha, Cindy Of Samoa, Frances Anderson, Jaroncye Lole, Tanu Gago, Phlyesha Brown- Acton and all those who supported, for not only their hard work in organising and executing this Fono, but their continued service and dedication to advancing and advocating for the voices of the ‘Third Spirit’.
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