For a positive Pacific

JOE DAWSON
Last updated 05:00 16/11/2012
Maile Uluave
PACIFIC POWER: Multi-Educational Support and Services Trust chairwoman Maile Uluave is the driving force behind the Tapa Aotearoa Pacific expo.

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It has taken three years to get off the ground but finally an expo aimed at reducing the high rates of Pacific Islander unemployment is set to go ahead.

The Tapa Aotearoa Pacific Expo is being held at the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre tomorrow.

It is the initiative of Onehunga woman Maile Uluave who wants to see an improvement in statistics which show the unemployment rate among Pacific Islanders is 15 per cent, double the national rate.

Mrs Uluave has run the Multi-Educational Support and Services Trust since 2006, but has been involved in helping Pacific people better engage with the wider community for at least a decade longer.

She began by working with people struggling with the language barrier to help them fill out forms and navigate life in a new country, before taking a greater interest in education.

In that role she acts as a link between schools and families to make sure important school messages are being acted on. She also runs before- and after-school programmes.

Now she has turned her attention to employment.

The aim of the expo is to bring together all the groups and people who could help empower the Pacific Island community to get better educated, better skilled and better employed.

The idea is to bring people together and create something in much the same way a tapa cloth is made.

"We are trying to connect the community together to see the kind of similarities we have. It's like when women come together and work to complete a final tapa."

At the expo will be Government departments, immigration advisers, health and education providers, recruiters and members of the Pacific business community.

The Tapa Aotearoa Pacific Expo is on tomorrow from 10am till 4pm at the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre, Manukau. Entry is free.

Visit tapaaotearoa.co.nz.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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