Community: “I am a Pacific Islander.”

Alongside clubs, the University is made up of many different communities. This includes people with shared interests, identity, and culture. Here, we have a letter from Sinai, to her fellow Pacific students.

As Pacific tertiary students, we need to embrace our achievements and share them with our communities in order to normalise Pacific success in our wider society. We need to show our people that society does not define who we are and where we are going in the future.

From a young age we are already taught the skills required for us to pass at University such as public speaking and being self-reliant. Our participation at church can testify that when we participate in a skit or recite a memorised hymn or bible verse in front of our whole church community. Also in family events, we automatically understand our roles and step up to responsibility where it is needed while thinking on our toes. Subtly, our participation in cultural traditions have trained us to be leaders, good public speakers and responsible human beings- all the skills that we need being able to study independently at University and succeed just as much as anyone else.

Currently being at University and applying yourself in the field you are in whether it be in fine arts, architecture or medicine or law- you are succeeding and pushing beyond stereotypical barriers. Being at University and aiming to graduate with any degree is a success for our Pacific community. Rising above societal expectations and disregarding ideas that we are lazy, dumb or likely to end up in jail is a success for our whole community.

NORMALISE PACIFIC SUCCESS AND NEVER HESITATE TO CHANGE PEOPLE’S PERCEPTION OF YOU.

Remember the sacrifices made by our families to get us to the place we are today and show them our appreciation by pushing beyond societal expectations. “Te ke lava, teu lava, te tau lava”: You can do it, I can do it WE CAN ALL DO IT. 

Get through this year by imagining the outcome of our academic hardships: the endless tears of joy by the people who made sacrifices for us and infinite flower leis. Make that moment worth it for them and inspire upcoming University students. Embrace the hardships that come from academia for yourself, for your parents and for our general society to finally put an end our negative stereotype.

God bless you all for 2018!