Community Scoop » Helping young Pacific New Zealanders fulfill their responsibilities


A researcher investigating the experiences and perceptions of New Zealand-born Pacific youth says it is important for adults to help Pacific youth cope with and juggle their various responsibilities.

Speaking at a community research webinar, Soalaupule Asetoa (Sam) Pilisi discussed some of the responsibilities faced by New Zealand-born Pacific youth, including responsibilities to serve family, church and community, and explored ways in which young people can be better supported by those working with them.

“I think it’s partly incumbent on influential adults, whether parents or educators, to help create a space for young people to explore and perhaps test the limits of where the load is too heavy,” he said.

“As adults we have to recognize that for our young people here in New Zealand it is not the same as the Pacific or our villages where it is our bread and butter, and our young people need support. to be supported to carry out these responsibilities, but also to understand that it is a very different world here in New Zealand.

He found that none of the young people interviewed could answer what balancing, self-care and protecting their well-being looked like in practice.

Pilisi, who was born and raised in central Auckland and has ties to Niue and Samoa, interviewed young people about what their world was like through a service lens.

“Service and the way we look at the world and the way we look at our journey, I have found are intertwined by this desire and this heart to serve, to serve others. Our minds, our hearts and our actions follow this philosophy of serving others, I wanted to capture stories around this and so was very grateful to undertake this study and then collect stories from New Zealand born university students.

Through his research, he discovered that service was not just about actions, but a way of life for young people in the Pacific.

“Service is a worldview, it’s a lifestyle, and it’s a lens on how we look at things,” Pilisi said.

In the webinar, now available to listen to as a podcast, Pilisi said a key finding of his research was that New Zealand-born Pacific youth “walk between two worlds”.

“They kind of go between these two worlds and paradigms where it’s going to be ‘serve at all costs’ or this idea that you can serve and give, but you have to stay in certain ways or you have to take a break once in a while. ”

Pilisi is just one of many researchers who have shared their knowledge and insights with the treaty-based organization, Community Research.

The podcast episode is part of a new series from Community Research called Hoki Whakamuri – Haere Whakamua – Thinking Back, Moving Forward. He Kōrero shares the latest insights, insights, and new ways of thinking across seven episodes.

To listen to kōrero, search for He Kōrero on Podbean or Apple podcasts.

Community Research is a small NGO raising the mana of community knowledge. They provide free and fair access to research and validate lived experience and knowledge alongside academic research. Their focus for 2023 will be a knowledge collision symposium that aims to meet community and whānau research aspirations. Community Research also hosts What Works, a website providing assessment tools, and Whānau Ora, a research collection for Whānau. For recent whānau and community research, or to learn about upcoming and recent webinars, visit:


Director General, Community Research

[email protected]

phone 0272178798


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