Jase profile 1

Jason Tiatia

Once a professional sportsman, an All Black 7s rugby player, Jason contributes to his community through education, facilitation and inspiration. He transfers his knowledge and expertise through teaching in tertiary and coaching roles in the community. Jason has years of training and experience in Sport and Sport Management from playing to coaching and everything in between.
Coupled with more than a decade of adult community education and teaching tertiary studies he now has a refined variety of skills particularly around facilitation and MC roles. He is a Kaiako for Brainwave Trust sharing research on neuroscience in early year’s development with vulnerable communities.

He is passionate about keeping the Samoan language and culture alive and well in Ōtautahi, and demonstrates this through the cultural values of respect, love and service. When he is not working, he runs the water on the rugby field for his three children and enjoys the challenge of raising trilingual tamariki in Aotearoa. He is a team player and lives by a well-known Samoan proverb 'o le tele o sulu e maua ai fīgota, e māmā se avega pe a tā amo fa'atasi', 'my strength does not come from me alone but from many'.

Jason is renowned for engaging his students or audience with activities to challenge the mind, body and uplift the spirit. He believes that 'the one that does the work does the learning’ and will get you moving and you won’t even notice it. Jason leads through service, and this is why we are pleased to announce him as our conference MC bringing a Pacific vibrancy and warmth to the conference.

Photo By: Chris Sexton |            

Maria Lemalie

Maria Lemalie is a proud Educator, born and raised in the city of Christchurch. Her parents migrated from Samoa in the late 60s from the tranquil and beautiful villages of Apai, Manono Tai and Salevalu-Iva, Savai’i. She has always acknowledged the sacrifice and the journey that her parents made for her and her 3 brothers.

Maria is currently the Assistant Principal of Shirley Boy’s High School in Christchurch. This school has a role of over 1300 boys with over 100 staff. Maria is the only woman on the Senior Leadership Team and the only Samoan woman on the staff.

Prior to teaching, Maria has held roles in the government sector both in NZ and in Samoa. Maria worked in the tertiary sector at the University of Canterbury as a Pasifika Liaison. Through this work, she found that she had a talent with engaging, supporting and improving practices for all who worked with Pasifika. Maria has extensive experience with APSTE, the association of Pasifika Staff in Tertiary where she has facilited workshops and organised national conferences. She has spent time teaching in Nagasaki, Japan and Incheon, South Korea. She is a member of the Pacific People’s Advisory Group Canterbury for MOE. Maria has facilitated PLD workshops on Cultural Responsiveness and Raising Pasifika Achievement. The audience has ranged from ECE through to Tertiary.

When she is not working in her core job, Maria has great involvement with the wider Canterbury Community through Culture, Service and Faith.

Maria has had an intergral part in the Christchurch’s Secondary Schools Polyfest Festival. She is well known for her work with the stage management of the ChCh Polyfest stage for over 15 years. In this capacity, Maria has been able to see the growth of Pasifika Pride and the prioritisation of Pasifika culture throughout the South Island schools. She is known to many schools and students as ‘the lady with the clipboard’.

Maria has been the educational co-ordinator for Pacific PowerUp East for a number of years. Pacific PowerUP is an education programme that aims to actively support Pacific parents, families and communities to champion their children's learning. It also provides academic support to primary and secondary students, and a safe learning environment for ECE-aged children. Through this programme, Maria has been able to work with families, teachers, local schools and tertiary institutions.

On Sundays, Maria will be serving within her parish community as a hearty member of St Paul’s Trinity Pacific Presbyterian Church. Whether it’s opening the Church on Sunday mornings, reading out the morning notices, taking the minutes for Parish Council, or subbing in as a relief teacher for Sunday School, she takes the lead in serving for a greater purpose.

To keep her energy levels high, Maria is a dedicated F45 addict. She loves the occasional burpee and the good ole box jump. She attends 5.10am classes before getting to work. She has completed over 20x City to Surf Runs, 13x Half marathons, 1x full marathon and a triathlon. Her greatest love are her nephews. If the F45 classes don’t get her pooped, her nephews do a great job of keeping her on her toes.

"Ole ala ile pule ole tautua" - The path to leadership is through service.

For Maria, this Samoan proverb has been an intricate part of her journey as a Pasifika Woman, Daughter, Sister, Aunty, Teacher, Advocate, Mentor and servant.


Keynote Speakers


Daisy​ Lavea-Timo

Daisy Lavea-Timo is a spoken word poet, rugby league prop, learner and facilitator. A black and white Samoan lens converges and in those thousand shades of grey, Daisy explores what it means to be a straddler of worlds: a kiwi-born, fluent-Sāmoan speaking and traditional tattoo-wielding Matai/Chief.

Crowned the 2017 New Zealand Slam Poetry Champion, she believes in the power of words and holding the vā/spaces for people to share their own stories. Daisy’s poetry ciphers around talanoa about identity, purpose and leadership. Recently the Southern Regional Relationship Manager for the Ministry of Youth Development, she has just started a role as a Consultant for Core Education and is co-constructing their first ever Pacific Strategy and Action Plan.

Sala Tiatia

Matai'a Salatielu Tiatia

Matai'a Salatielu Tiatia or Sala for short, has been doing youth work for close to 30 years now. And more intensely in the area of Alternative Education for the last 13 years both in Porirua Wellington, and here in Otautahi.

Still working with youth today, Sala facilitates Maori/Pacific leadership programmes both inside and out side of main stream school and operates at a pastoral and governance level for Alternative education both at a regional and national level.

Sala was blessed with crazy opportunities that has boosted his profile as a speaker and motivator of people in the first season of Survivor NZ in 2017 as well as Ted X last year in August where he spoke on the Power of Words.

Sala is an advocate for men's well being as well as youth voice, counselling and LOVE.

He is married to his Maori Queen Danette and between them both, they have 6 beautiful heartbeats.

Workshops Presenters

Jo Togiaso

Jo Togiaso

Currently a Lecturer at the University of Canterbury, School of Education, Health & Human Development. Has facilitated Ministry of Education Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO 2 & 3) PLD as part of the Pasifika Project in the South Island from 2014 - 2019. Had the privilege of teaching in mainstream and Pasifika early childhood services in Christchurch. Passionate about building teacher's competence in supporting diverse learners in education.

Seta Timo

Seta Timo

Performing Arts Coordinator

Talofa lava, o lo'u igoa o Seta Timo. I grew up on Aldershot Street here in Aranui. I studied the Double Bass at Jazz school and graduated with a  Bachelor of Music from the University of Canterbury. After a short stint in Japan, I came back to NZ to get my  Secondary School teaching certificate and have taught Music  for the last 8 years. My favourite TV series is 'Suits' and my kryptonite is KFC.

Lesieli Tongati’o3

Dr Lesieli Pelesikoti Tongati’o

Lesieli has extensive experience across all levels of the education sector, with strong understanding of Pasifika education and evidence about what works to raise achievement, with key networks, particularly in Pasifika communities. She has a deep understanding of policy and practice, leadership and strategic development, and, is an experienced researcher. Lesieli is an accredited Professional Learning and Development facilitator and also gives some lectures in the Institute of Education alongside supervising post graduate students.
Tongan is her first language, English her second and has a good understanding of Polynesian languages and other Pacific languages and cultures.

Lesieli is currently a PLD facilitator with Tātai Angitu, Kaihautū Mātauranga o Te Moana nui a Kiwa – Pasifika Education Leader, providing PLD to leaders and educators across early learning, schools and tertiary levels, and, championing Pasifika Success. Represented Tātai Angitu in recent conferences with presentations and workshops at the Vaka Pasifiki Conference, It takes and Island and an Ocean: Rethinking Pacific Education for resilient and healthy communities, USP, Suva, Fiji July 5,6, 2019; The Pacific Tertiary Education Forum, Be the change you can be, VUW, September 6,7 alongside church conferences.

Previously led the development, implementation and monitoring of Pasifika Education Plans (PEP) while working in the Ministry of Education, including the Pasifika Education Plan 2013-2017. These PEPs were approved by Cabinet and covered the focus areas of Early Learning (early childhood education and development); Schooling (primary through to secondary); Tertiary Education; Education Sector-Wide (Ministry of Education and Education Partner Agencies); and, Parents, Families and Communities. They aimed at raising Pasifika learners’ participation, engagement and achievement from early learning through to tertiary education and to ensure that all Pasifika children and students succeed in education as well as being strong in their identities, languages and cultures.

Tautata Aiono Faletol

Tautata Aiono Faletolu

Tautala Aiono Faletolu but you can call me “Anne”.
“…I know! we will call you Anne… yes Anne with an ‘e’ because Princess Anne just got married…”

Samoan, born and raised in Dunedin. English language was taught to me once I entered the school gates. I was given the name “Anne” by my school principal in 1975 who refused to pronounce my name “Tautala”. I chose Social Work for many reasons around “injustices” and sadly school life was an injustice…. however, I want to share with you me…the real me not the Anne with an ‘e’ me….

Tautala currently works as a Senior Advisor for Oranga Tamariki and was previously was a Senior Advisor Pacific, Social Worker & Supervisor. Statutory social work has been her career for the past 20+ years with time leading the Children Asylum Seeking team in Islington London. Tautala spent many years as a Senior Lecturer for Social Work at Whitireia New Zealand and contributed to the teaching of Social Work and Pacific at Otago University in early 2000s. Tautala wants to propose to educators how to recognise when social support for Pacific children is required outside of family and working with Pacific families in social support circumstances.

Pip Laufiso

Pip Laufiso

Pip Laufiso has been involved in a wide range of community-based organisations, initiatives and activities locally and nationally for many years, with her key interests focused on arts and education.

Ms Laufiso is the Executive Officer for Arai Te Uru Kokiri Training Centre and extends her experience and interest in the education sector as a member of the Pasifika Advisory Group for the Ministry of Education and the Dunedin Computers in Homes Steering Committee. She is currently a trustee of the Otago Early Childhood and Schools’ Maori & Pacific Island Festival, a member of Transforming Dunedin and has worked on several arts and cultural events.

Previously she has been a member of the Pasifika Study Support Centre at Brockville School, a Director and Trustee of Credit Union Otago and was also a member of the Pacific Trust Otago Advisory Committee.

Mele Togiaso3

Mele Togiaso

Tālofa! My name is Mele and I am a Year 3/4 teacher and teacher in charge of ESOL at an Apple Distinguished School (Bromley School) in Christchurch.

Over the past 14 years I have taught across Years 0-8 at schools in the East of Christchurch while along the way continuing my own learning journey by completing a Post Graduate Diploma of Education (endorsed in Teaching and Learning Languages) and a Master of Education (University of Canterbury).

I have a passion for digital technologies and how these can be used to nurture children's creativity, as well as a drive to see more of our Pasifika students becoming innovators, creators and leaders in the digital world.

Ana Teofilo4

Ana Teofilo

Emerging artist Ana Teofilo was born and raised in Dunedin but her Samoan ancestry is in her art and the traditional Siapo (Tapa) art forms. Her paintings blend harmoniously with the artist’s heritage and new contemporary western. Her birth place and upbringing is a positive point of difference that enables her to create artwork that is unique while traditional which contributes to the overall Pacific art in New Zealand.

Teofilo walks a tightrope between her Samoan and her South Island environment. She bridges both cultures to connect with her identity. There is also a nod to aboriginal art practices with beaded pathways flowing through her paintings symbolising journeys.

She was the recipient of the Con Hutton Scholarship in 2015 which contributed to her Masters in Visual Arts with Merit (Painting) from the Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic. Since then she has exhibited solo exhibitions at the Dunedin community Gallery, AS Gallery Dunedin WebbFarry Lawyers, Dunedin International Airport Terminal in 2016, Warwick Henderson Gallery, The Nathan Homestead Gallery (Auckland) in 2017, Ana was 1 of 7 to represent Warwick Henderson Gallery at the Auckland Art Fair in 2018 and coming up in March will be her first solo show with Gallery De Novo (Dunedin).

The uniqueness and strength of her work bring a breath of fresh air to the Pasifika genre of art in New Zealand.


Elizabeth Johnson2

Elizabeth Johnson

Maths through a Pasifika Lens

Elizabeth Johnson is a Mathematics Facilitator working for University of Canterbury’s UC Education Plus. Interested in all areas of Mathematics, she works in-depth in primary schools to support teachers to develop authentic and engaging mathematics programmes that reflect the lived experiences of all children. By creating opportunities to make children’s everyday lives part of the mathematics programme, children’s own cultural knowledge engages them as apprentice mathematicians who can think, talk and justify their mathematics confidently.

Workshops in the city

Canterbury museum

Canterbury Museum

Explore our Iwi Tawhito Whenua Hou gallery space where we will examine Canterbury Museum’s Wairau Bar display, an important archaeological site, settled by explorers from East Polynesia 600 – 700 years ago.

After exploring ancient Aotearoa we will look at our new exhibition Moana Currents Dressing Aotearoa Now. This exhibition considers the history of migration and cultural exchange, adaption and adoption in the Pacific. It looks at how we dress today and the way various threads drawn from across Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa are creating a distinctive Aotearoa New Zealand style.


Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu

Presenter: Bianca van Leeuwen

Polynesian print making workshop

Take a tour of the Gallery and explore a range of Polynesian art including Woodblock, Tivaevae and Tapa.  During the tour participants will be asked make recordings of patterns and motifs used in the work they see. They will use their drawings  to create their own Polynesian print working collaboratively with others in the group.


C1 espresso

C1 Cafe

Once you’ve ordered and paid for your coffee or meal and had it delivered to your table, have you thought about the steps taken to get it there? Behind many of C1 Espresso’s products is a bigger story. It begins in Samoa, nine years ago.

In 2009, C1 Espresso entered into a partnership with Women in Business Development (WIBDI), a non-government organisation which aims to empower vulnerable Samoan families to generate income in a sustainable and self-reliant manner.

We began with a plan to start a coffee planting programme in Samoa and serve Samoan espresso in C1. Membership in the programme would guarantee each family a long-term income. It was a great plan on paper, and we flew to Samoa to get it happening. But the internet was relatively new and our research hadn’t been the best. It turned out there were no coffee plantations in Samoa.