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Young Free & Pacific 2022

On Wednesday 16th June, four Pasifika boys had the opportunity of going to Young, Free & Pacific 2022. Hosted at the Mangere Arts Centre, it was an event jam-packed with good food, vibes and the best type of people to inspire young pacific men.

There were guest speakers who in their segments stuck to one overarching theme that ought to resonate with us – to be bold, brave and believe. Halfway through the day, the four of us split off into the workshops we selected to take part in, and we had the opportunity to pick the brains of the people who led each workshop.

We split off into spoken word and music, there was singing, harmonising and instruments in the music workshop, and a chance to create our own spoken word pieces. The theme for our spoken word was bravery, we were taught a method of spoken word that utilised our five senses, using them to describe what bravery is. At the end of the day, each group had the chance to present what they worked on in their workshop notably the harmonising of ‘Happy Days’ by the boys in music, and I was chosen to share my spoken word in front of everyone.

This is it:


I feel tingles in the tips of my fingers, sweaty palms, and beating chest so strong I feel it in my ears. My toes curl, gripping onto the soles of my shoes as a toddler would grip their mother’s hand when they’re scared.

My airway tight, my tie acting as a rope, tying down the words I want to say. My eyes hazy, my knees shaking.


Bravery is standing in front of a crowd of people who know nothing but have a roaming mind that is prone to judge.

Bravery is putting my blazer on every day and trying to make my school and my community a better place.

Bravery is convincing others that I am a true Tongan in my own right, that I am a 101% proud Pacific leader.

Bravery is going into the institutions and places I want to be and talking to the politicians and journalists that I want to emulate and one day replace.

Bravery is wearing my badges, putting them on for show, embracing them, wearing them like a general, a general fighting my own conflicts, the proof I am hardworking, that I am dedicated – to learning, to being of service, to being a leader.

Bravery is channelling the pains of primary and intermediate to reach MY high school greatness. Bravery is using the pebbles thrown at me by those who didn’t believe to form my path. Bravery is walking down that path and reaching this point, here, right now – Young, Free and Pacific!

I am BRAVE!!
I am BRAVE!!!

It was a warming moment to see the boys, most of them I have never seen before, from schools all around Auckland cheering, applauding and coming down from their seats to hype me up. With that, it was time to head back out West, another day that I am forever happy to have been a part of. My thanks to Mr Talamaivao and to the facilitators of the event.

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