College holds Pasifika Youth Day
Nelson College is throwing open its doors to the people of the Pacific next Friday.
The school is hosting a new event called Pasifika Youth Day and up to 500 Pacific Island secondary and intermediate students and their families from Nelson, Tasman, the West Coast and Marlborough are expected to attend. The free event takes place on August 17 from 4pm to 9pm at the school hall and has been organised by the Nelson Tasman Pasifika Community Trust, the college and Nelson Bays Primary Health Pasifika whanua worker Ireen Manuel.
Pasifika Youth Day will feature a traditional umu dinner, a visual arts competition, a speech contest and dance performances.
The evening’s guest speaker will be Rhys Fa’avae who went to Nelson College and is now in his final year of medicine at the University of Otago.
‘‘We wanted someone the children could relate to,’’ Ireen said.
Ireen said the speech contest would include the topics: education, health and fitting in to life in New Zealand, and students would be allowed to deliver their speech in any language they like.
‘‘We’ve got one child speaking in four languages and he’s only an intermediate student,’’ she said.
The day is being sponsored by a range of educational, health, iwi and social service agencies who will have stands on display covering subjects as varied as oral health, how to quit smoking, diabetes and how to join the police.
Planning started six weeks ago and organisers hope Pasifika Youth Day becomes an annual fixture on the Top of the South’s calendar.
Ireen said one of the main ideas behind it was to encourage Pasifika young people into tertiary education and to get them thinking about the importance of education.
‘‘We want to ensure our Pasifika students are engaged in achieving at school and that schools are better able to recognise and embrace the importance of identity, language and culture,’’ she said.
‘‘We’d like the students to celebrate who they are, celebrate their identity and to be successful in life.’’
Ireen said particular thanks had to go to Nelson College’s assistant principal Ron Kelly.
‘‘He and his wife Debs Kelly have been really important in helping to organise this event,’’ she said.
For more information, search Pasifika Youth Day on Facebook.