Transforming education spaces for Pasifika – implementing a Pasifika Resource Kit within 3 tertiary institutions in Canterbury

Pauline Luafutu-Simpson1,  Ashalyna Noa1, Sam Uta’I2

1University of Canterbury
2ARA Institute

‘O le upega e fili i le po, ’ae talatala i le ao’ (The net that became entangled in the night will be disentangled in the light of day).

According to the NZ Tertiary Education Commission (2017: 7), Pasifika tertiary course completion rates have improved overall, but continue to be below that of non-Māori and non-Pasifika. From 2006-2015, the Pasifika course completion rate at Level 7 and above increased from 68% to 75%, while non-Māori and non-Pasifika completion rates increased from 85% to 89%. From 2006-2014, we see similar disparities in qualification completion rates. The Pasifika qualification completion rate at Level 7 and above (60%) was 23 percentage points below the non-Māori and non-Pasifika completion rate (83%). The understanding of effective teaching and learning strategies as well as effective culturally responsive pastoral care to support Pasifika students at tertiary institutions is critical if educational institutions are to aim for increased Pasifika success within their institutions.

A Pasifika Resource Kit was developed as a result of the findings from the main research project and the ensuing report – (Change Strategies in enhancing Pasifika Success in 3 Tertiary Institutions in Canterbury). The collective Pasifika student voice from the three institutions were the building blocks in the development of this resource kit.

Three areas recommended for transformative change to support Pasifika success were identified in the AKO research project – Transforming academic spaces, improving student services and Pasifika visibility. Recommendations around these areas formed the basis for this particular Pasifika Success Resource kit. The team successfully responded to an Ako Aotearoa RFP for funding from the National Project Fund and are currently engaged in the implementation and evaluation process of the toolkit.

This workshop will be interactive and an opportunity to unpack this particular Pasifika resource kit with the hopes that this will add to, build on, encourage and/or affirm current practices in the transformation of learning spaces within tertiary institutions for Pasifika students. Feedback and discussion is welcomed.


Ashalyna Noa- Kaiārahi Pasifika (Ako Project) University of Canterbury
Ashalyna is a New Zealand born Samoan, raised in Auckland and Christchurch. Ashalyna is currently working as Kaiārahi Pasifika (Ako Project) with the UC Pacific Development Team and studying towards her PhD at the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies. Ashalyna is an executive member of P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A Inc and Christchurch Branch and has a passion to work with Pacific communities. She is also a proud foundation member of the Pacific Youth Leadership and Transformation (PYLAT) Council who support Pasifika youth to participate in democracy and access leadership opportunities.

Sam Uta’i – Senior Academic Ara Institute of Canterbury
Sam is descendant of Sā Tu’u’ū & Sā Vaeafē. Born in Auckland, Sam finally settled in Otautahi/Christchurch and has been working at Ara for the last 20 years.
An advocate for Pacific peoples’ and Sam has been active in Pasefika development & education and her work with women.

Pauline Luafutu-Simpson – Acting Director Pasifika Development University of Canterbury
Pauline is a Samoan Kiwi (SAKI) born in Grey Lynn Auckland. Her family moved to Christchurch when she was 9 years old. Pauline was sent to attend school in Samoa as a teenager for three and a half years and attributes that as being a significant ‘game changer’ for her.
As well as working at the University of Canterbury, Pauline has a small company -G.R.A.C.E Unlimited Ltd and together with her husband develops and delivers cultural responsive training for staff and professionals from Education, Health and Community services. Pauline has always had an active interest in Education for Pasifika learners and Pasifika Community Development initiatives. Pauline is also currently enrolled as a PhD Candidate with MBC.


The Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Inc. (ANZSSA) is a professional association for people with an interest in the role of support services in post secondary education.

For more information, please visit ANZSSA website by


ISANA International Education Association is the representative body for professionals in Australia and New Zealand who work in international student services, advocacy, teaching and policy development in international education.

For more information, please visit the ISANA website at

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.