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Pacific students geared up for year ahead

Pacific students geared up for year ahead

The Christchurch Pacific school community today welcomed the 2014 year with a church service to dedicate and bless students for a productive year ahead.

Pacific Island Affairs Minister, Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, joined families and the wider school community at Riccarton High School for the special service. The evening focused on Pacific families and their schools’ community engagement.

“The purpose of the evening is to build and strengthen relationships between Pacific parents and their children’s schools. It is also about sharing and valuing Pacific culture through spirituality,” said Mr Lotu-Iiga.

Mr Lotu-Iiga addressed the congregation where he acknowledged the integral part that the church plays in the Pacific Island school community.

“83 per cent of all Pacific Island people have a connection to a faith and it is important to acknowledge that when supporting the educational future of our kids. Our churches have become sanctuaries of hope and compassionate care. They are custodians of our cultures and have nurtured our talents and help protect and care for what is important to our way of life and our identities as Pacific people.”

Over the past two years, Pacific churches have worked closely with tertiary education organisations and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs to promote the benefits of trades training to Pacific people as part of the Pacific Island Trades Training Initiative.

“It is testament to the success of partnerships like this that the Government expanded the Maori and Pacific Island Trades Training initiative from 600 places to 3,000 places last year.” Mr Lotu-Iiga said

“This means increased opportunities for our Pacific youth to boost their skills and increase their earning potential. Pacific Island graduates will now have the chance to contribute to the rebuild of Christchurch and provide inspiration for other Pacific people looking to train and up-skill.”

Mr Lotu-Iiga also noted that young Pacific people in the Canterbury region have being doing better at NCEA over the past few years.

“Locally the percentage of Pacific Island school leavers achieving NCEA level 2 or above has increased from 50 per cent in 2009 to 53.4 per cent in 2012,” he said.

“This is a promising trend and a signal that the Christchurch Pacific Island community is aspirational and committed to succeed in school.

The event was organised by the Spacifically Pacific Collective, which works to rebuild and plan for Pacific Island student success in schools, tertiary education and careers.


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