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PILOT – Pacific Island Leaders Of Tomorrow

Malo e lelei, Kia Orana, Ni sa Bula, Talofa Lava, Fakalofa Lahi Atu, Kia Ora, Warm Pasifika greetings.

What does the word PILOT mean to you? To fly a plane at great heights above the clouds and over the seas? To me and nine other pacific island students, the word PILOT means so much more. It stands for Pacific Island Leaders Of Tomorrow.

Ten Pasifika students attended the PILOT day which enabled us to reach great heights within our identity and recognise the importance of cultural representation. We met with other Pacific Island students from all over Auckland at Massey University, Albany Campus for this leadership programme. It empowered us students to recgonise our individual leadership qualities as islanders and helped us to shape our nets of influence. To say that this day was a highlight of my term is an understatement. It was an empowering feeling to be in a room surrounded by Pacific Island leaders. The unity of our various Pacific cultures bonded by the ocean, meant that although we came from different islands, our way of life is very similar. At school we are scattered and when we come together as a group of Pacific Island leaders at programmes like PILOT, we recognize how crucial it is to lead and represent our culture with pride.

One thing that really stuck with me was learning that leaders become great, not because of their power but because of their ability to empower others. PILOT helped us to reflect on the journey of our ancestors. For me, that was my grandma. When she emigrated to New Zealand from Tonga she worked three jobs to give her children and future grandchildren a better life than what she had in Tonga. At PILOT we were reminded of the pathway our ancestors paved for us and our duty to pay it forward by inspiring positive change as Pacific Island leaders. Learning leadership qualities, gaining an insight into scholarships and forming friendships were other important parts of the PILOT day. I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity that I had to attend this event, and I know that the skills, qualities and relationships that I formed on the day will shape my future.

The theme of the day was “We are the ocean. Our ancestors were leaders, they were one with the sea.” So while a pilot may fly over the oceans, PILOT to us is that we are the ocean.

Malo Aupito

Camryn Gemmell-Orsrborn 12BH

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