Pasifika Youth Speak Education Truths

Pasifika Youth Speak Education Truths

It’s raw, it’s emotional and it’s the truth.

A performance by Māori and Pasifika high school students, led by Sela Faletolu, CPIT Te Kaiwhakauru Pasifika, will provide solutions to captivate disengaged youth back into their education.

The city’s decision makers will be listening.

The group of 50 students will perform in the Speak Your Truth event at The Court Theatre this Sunday, using drama, singing and dance to communicate the students’ stories.

Faletolu says the students will highlight the difficulties preventing youths from achieving in education, such as the pressure to contribute financially to the family and learning in English when it was a second language, before raising some of their own solutions to the issues.

Previous performances of Speak Your Truth stunned the audiences and brought many to tears.

No limits crew 

The group of 50 students performing at this year's No Limits this Sunday.

This year, Whenua Patuwai, the runner up from New Zealand X-Factor 2013, will also be performing as part of the show.

Among the guests at this year’s event will be Mayor Lianne Dalziel, CPIT chief executive Kay Giles, former Mayor Garry Moore, and MPs Nicky Wagner, Megan Woods and Ruth Dyson. Representatives from CPIT, Barnados, Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, Pacific Trust Canterbury, Te Ora Hou and several other local organisations will also be in attendance.

After the performance, the students will speak with a panel of tertiary and government agency providers.

“There are a lot of policies about how to engage students in their education but we want these people to speak to the students directly,” Faletolu says.

“It’s about heart. We need to make these people feel the heart and emotions of these students. We need to make them care.”

The students have been working towards the performance for the last six months, which has been developed from Faletolu’s highly effective 2012 No Limits programme.

Since the holiday programme the students have been attending on-going Saturday sessions in preparation for this Sunday’s performance.

Faletolu’s approach has already proved highly effective, with students who were previously reluctant to engage now sharing their challenges with her team and re-engaging in education.

One of her students had moved on to enrol in CPIT’s National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (NASDA) programme, while others are now completing degrees in social work or sports.

“We’re creating a community here. It’s not a programme where you start on this date and finish on this date. It’s an on-going cycle where we are always connected and helping each other,” Faletolu says.

CPIT’s Centre for Māori and Pasifika Achievement offers support and guidance to all Māori and Pasifika students enrolled in CPIT programmes and operates outreach programmes as well.

The Speak Your Truth performance will be held at The Court Theatre Sunday November 10 with performances at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets are $5. For more information view: