Tae Moala-Mafi Tu’inukuafe is the Chief Advisor Pacific Strategy for WelTec and Whitireia.
Coming from a family of teachers it is no surprise Tae is working in the tertiary education sector. Having attended Tonga High School and teaching at St Andrew’s High School in Tonga, Tae went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws at the Victoria University of Wellington which was followed by a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts at the University of Otago.
Tae has now started in the role of Chief Advisor Pacific Strategy and has been enjoying getting to know key stakeholders for Whitireia and WelTec.
Work priorities have included talking with the Pacific communities to help increase participation and success rates of Pacific people studying at Whitireia and WelTec. “Part of this work involves promoting the role of Institutes of Technology & Polytechnics and what we offer to Pacific communities. Many in our community do not appreciate the careers that are possible with a polytechnic qualification. There is always a role for trades training and many people pick up jobs with good prospects and go on to succeed in their lives with a trades qualification. Many run successful businesses employing a lot of people.
“Alternatively students can choose to study in areas which are also critical to our economy such as ICT, Engineering, Health and Social Services, and Creative Arts. I am very keen to work with Pacific communities to share the opportunities for their young people that can be realised through study at our institutions,” says Tae.
“The labour market is very strong at the moment and there are many opportunities for Pacific people to do well. The success of the New Zealand economy depends on as many people as possible having the ability and skills to participate productively as an effective employee. A qualification from Whitireia or WelTec achieved through applied learning means graduates can make a contribution from day one in the workplace. Pacific People need to be at the forefront of these opportunities.”
In addition to her busy WelTec and Whitireia role Tae finds time to contribute to the education of the coming generations of tertiary learners. Tae is very involved in homework centres for primary and secondary school students. These students attend sessions where they get help to get their homework done. “I currently run one of these centres at WelTec in Petone and we have a lot of girls attending. It is very rewarding and there are some big benefits to young people getting together in this way. I want them to succeed at school so they can go on and do well at tertiary level,” says Tae.
Tae Moala-Mafi Tu’inukuafe has more than 17 years’ experience in policy and operational advice in central government: Ministry of Pacific Peoples, Ministry of Justice, and Office of Treaty Settlements. Among Tae’s community roles she is the Senior Advisor and Project Manager of the Wellington Tongan Leaders’ Council, on the Pacific Advisory Board for the New Zealand Police; and has previously been a Board Member of the South East and Capital Primary Health Organisation, Taeaomanino Trust, and the Vice Chairperson of the Wellington Pacific Health Services.