Niu leaders of Oceania: Paddling the Vaka on the journey to success

Miss Jenny Taotua1

1Victoria University Of Wellington, Aotearoa, New Zealand, Kelburn, New Zealand


As with any journey, there is always a  beginning, a middle and an end but the destination is always the best part! However, in order to get there, you need a vision, guidance, patience, perseverance and courage lest you lose your way. This presentation is based on the Tūākana programme designed to assist Māori & Pasifika staff at Victoria University of Wellington. The ‘Tūākana’ are student leaders who work alongside staff at Te Pūtahi Atawhai, which is a Māori and Pasifika hub that provide pastoral and academic mentoring support for Māori and Pasifika students. The Tūākana programme is in its third year of operation and is managed by the Senior Transition Engagement Adviser. This presentation will highlight what Tūākana student ambassadors as a team have established within the unit by utilising their  leadership, skills, values and characters by working side by side alongside staff to create workshops and building a strong social media platform that enhances student motivation and wellbeing.


Born and raised in Porirua, Wellington New Zealand. Jenny has a strong passion for working with youth and helping them achieve their full potential in life. She has worked at Victoria University of Wellington, NZ for 8 years in a Māori and Pasifika Success hub called Te Pūtahi Atawhai which translates to a place that shows ‘Confluence of Kindness’. Jenny is a Victoria University of Wellington Alumni, she has a background in Secondary School Teaching and has also lived in Japan for 5 years teaching English.


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. We are focused on: The quality of the student experience Supporting and empowering students to achieve their educational and life goals Enhancing student wellbeing and development Improving student success and persistence Providing outreach to students at-risk Raising institutional student retention rates For more information, please visit the ANZSSA website at

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Photo Credits: Visit Victoria