PGF investment in Pacific employment programme reaps rewards

Published: Jan 15, 2020

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The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment of $8.85 million (announced in February last year) to allow the Tupu Aotearoa programme (formerly the Pacific Employment Support Service) to be expanded to the regions is reaping rewards.

Photo of Vaiana Poko as she makes up one of the beds at Sudima Hotel

The Tupu Aotearoa programme and Moving Mountains NZ has helped Vaiana Poko, pictured, to find a job at Sudima Hotel.

Tupu Aotearoa empowers Pacific young people aged 15 to 39 years to build their skills, kick-start their career prospects and earn a good living, while also connecting with employers to provide the skilled, motivated talent they need.

After the announcement of the PGF funding Tupu Aotearoa started enlisting regional suppliers including suppliers in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Manawatū-Whanganui regions.

One of those was Bay of Plenty employment preparation and placement service Moving Mountains.

“The organisation decided to join Tupu Aotearoa because it saw the need for more specialised services for Pacific peoples,” Manager Nouha Tavita says.

“In the regions we service, there is a high Pacific population and understanding cultural sensitivities can assist clients to make progress.”

Vaiana Poko, of Cook Island descent, is one of their many success stories.

She went to Moving Mountains NZ in August 2019 looking for help to get her full drivers’ licence, and help finding a job.

“One month later, I successfully gained my full licence and had an interview set up with Sudima Hotel in Rotorua,” Vaiana says.

Vaiana impressed the panel at her interview and has now started working full-time at Sudima Hotel.

“The service from Moving Mountains NZ was exceptional and they understood my needs, especially my cultural needs as I am a Cook Islander,” she says.

“I am grateful for the support they gave me and continue to give me – they call and check up on how I am doing and have said the doors were always open for me to come see them for any other help I need.

“Thank-you Moving Mountains NZ and Tupu Aotearoa.”

Moving Mountains NZ Manager Nouha says the organisation is looking forward to continuing to contribute to Tupu Aotearoa by helping more Pacific clients like Vaiana, to identify their needs, addressing those needs and assisting them to move into employment to become self-reliant.