Amnesty International's first Pasifika chair announced
New chair of Amnesty Internation's NZ board announced.
The new chair of Amnesty International's New Zealand board wants to lift the lid on issues affecting Pasifika and Maori.
Peter Fa'afiu is being celebrated as the first chair of Pasifika descent working for the human rights organisation.
He spoke to Lucy Smith about how his career path lead him to his current role.
PETER FA'AFIU: I was born in Samoa, but raised in Glen Innes in East Auckland. Fresh out of university I joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. So as a part of my role overseas a lot of it had to do with monitoring of human rights. In a way it was a return to what I was doing previously.
LUCY SMITH: What kind of issues will you be looking at, within the NZ section and will that cover the Pacific region as well or just NZ?
PF: I mean human rights is under threat all over the world, and the Pacific region is not immune from those human rights abuses, we have challenges in the Pacific region. It's just about ensuring that we work with those around the Asia and Pacific area to shine a light on the abuses happening in the Pacific area. I think secondly focus for us is that we're a strong section - Amnesty International NZ. So it's about again making human rights apart of the dinner table conversation. You know wouldn't it be great if you could sit around the dinner table in the evenings and rather than talk about rugby we could talk about human rights and what we New Zealanders can do and how we can make a difference.
LS: And you've got quite a strong ties to Pasifika and Maori ties through your previous work.
PF: I'm fortunate to be on a number of boards, but also my professional background I mean it's an interesting thing when you get appointed something you become the 'first Pasifika of something' I can't wait until the day when we don't have to say the first Pasifika we can just say someone got appointed for their skill set. But the, I found that I still sort of had the opportunity to break down barriers, and I've got that connection with mainstream organisations and networks as well so it's about providing that balancing act between pacific, Māori and mainstream spaces.
LS: What sort of challenges do you mean with the Pasifika and Māori community what do you think you'll provide to eradicate them?
PF Well in the Pacific's, we've got a significant Pacific population here in NZ, particularly in Auckland so I mean it will be great that they'll be an awareness of some of the challenges that are occurring in the area for example Papua New Guinea, and Fiji continues to have challenges. So it's about an awareness. We've got a significant Pacific population in New Zealand who can have a major impact on their countries back home. So it's about making sure that expat community contributing to the conversations with their home governments.
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