Employing Pasifika: realising young Pasifika potential

Hi my name’s Lisa Taouma I am a company director
of Tiki Lounge Productions. The Tiki Lounge is one of the largest Pacific production companies
in the Pacific region and we make lots of programs for TV like ‘Fresh’ for TV2 and
‘Game of Bros’ and we have lots of online productions for our online hub which is called
the CoconetTV. So when someone comes to me and expresses interest in working in TV production
and a lot of young people have, the skills that I’m looking for and the qualities that
I’m looking for in young people are things like the ability to have connectivity in a
team, the ability to communicate that’s really, really key. Also in this industry you really
have to think on your feet and you have to have ability to self-manage and make your
own decisions so it’s confidence in decision-making. Talofa lava, my name is Timena Apa and I am
a writer-researcher for Tiki Lounge Production. So coming from high school and university
into the workplace I think one thing that was that made the transition easier was coming
from one group to another group so I came from sports teams and groups of friends and
Polyfest groups to a new group of people which were my work mates and that familiarity of
jumping from one community of people to another made it a little bit easier to sort of feel
comfortable and fit in and if you’re surrounded by people you can consider your family and
your friends then the workplace it’s just ten times better.
I guess what qualities I look for when someone wants to work here are that their innate capacity
to be part of a team, to me that’s a standout quality, it’s people who want to be with
other people. I’m Robert Oliver I’m one of the owners and
directors of Kai Pasifika Restaurant. The natural assets that Pacific people have around
their food knowledge and their love of their food is… we need that in here, that’s part
of our design fundamentally. And for me in the kitchen it means that like everyone who
knows their food, my Samoan, my Fijian, my Palau, my Cook Island guys if I say how does
that taste they know what it’s supposed to taste like they know the authentic flavour
its part of their kind of chef DNA. Hello my name is Hope Papalii, I’m the restaurant
manager at Kai Pasifika Restaurant. My job here is to make sure that when staff come
on board that they’re trained in everything we need them to do and follow procedures.
It’s quite demanding you do a lot of long hours and you’re on your feet all day. So
having very little experience when I first entered the workforce was very intimidating
for me. I found it really challenging to get the confidence to step out and apply for the
jobs that I did. Pasifika people bring a natural talent to
that industry to the interaction with other people. It’s not all about the qualifications,
the background, all of that stuff, it’s often about the way that you put yourself across
to the consumer, that’s gold. On people’s CVs things like the fact that
they may have been in Polyfest, in sports teams for example, those things mean different
things now because the level of intensity and the level of commitment that you have
to have in those arenas now are so much more than before, so automatically that shows me
a willingness to learn, part of a team, and a good community kind of attitude.
Pacific people are famously hard-working so if you combine a good strong work ethic with
the natural inclination to be part of a strong team, hey you’re good to go.
Show me you’re passionate, show me your absolutely keen, turn up, turn up is a big thing, turn
up when you have to turn up really early for some production shoots, turn up earlier. And
willingness to learn and take direction, I have to know that you’re going to be willing
to do that. Those are really key qualities, the basics that you want to know.
My tips for you coming into the workforce for the first time, definitely work hard,
focus, and make the most of every opportunity that you have, just work really hard.
I think a way that employers can encourage young people to enter the industry or the
sector is just be visible and be mindful that young Pacific people need to know that there
are opportunities out there, so visit schools and visit universities and let yourself be
known so that there’s an awareness around what is possible, and I think that’s a great
way to get people in the industry

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