Young Pacific Island people are taking up the mantle of leadership in different ways from their trailblazing forebears, Pacific Island Affairs Minister Georgina te Heuheu says.
Speaking at the Pacific Allied Council Inspires Faith in Ideals Concerning All (PACIFICA) annual conference, the Minister welcomed the emergence of the “text generation” of leaders – people under 30 years of age who used text and the internet to communicate.
“Not only do these young leaders bring fresh enthusiasm and new ideas to the table, they also embrace digital communications which is immediate and reached beyond all borders.”
Mrs te Heuheu said the new breed of young leaders would be following in the footsteps of their trailblazing forebears who had provided inspirational and courageous leadership for the past three decades.
“The outstanding contribution of past leaders has ensured that PACIFICA is in good stead for the future.
“It is fitting that we recognise these trailblazers – women such as Eti Laufiso (69) and Nancy Sheehan (48), who passed away last year. We also recognise the significant contribution of Louisa Crawley founding member and national president of PACIFICA.
Mrs te Heuheu also paid tribute to current Pacific women leaders, including:
· Eleitino Paddy Walker (OBE 1976), widely recognised as the founder of PACIFICA
· Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop (Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit), who was appointed as the inaugural Professor of Pacific Studies at the Auckland University of Technology last year
· Dr Diane Mara (Member of the New Zealand order of Merit)
· Mrs Toesulu Maea Brown (MNZM
· Mere Tapaeru Tereora
· Jean Mitaera
· Fanaura Kingstone
· Caren Rangi
· Anna Marshall (QSM)
· Emma Kesha and
· Ataga’i Esera.
“All of these past and present leaders are pioneers who have blazed the trail for future leaders to follow.
“I encourage the emerging text generation of young leaders to show the same inspiration and courage as their predecessors and to accept the mantle of leadership and to serve their communities well,” Mrs te Heuheu said.