Faculty of Education and Social Work

Meet our students

Get acquainted with some current students with Pasifika backgrounds studying a range of programmes. Find out what got them started and what they hope to achieve.

Read the personal experiences of Pasifika students at the Faculty of Education and Social Work.

Peta Ravlich


Cook Islands, Tahiti
Studying the Foundation Certificate Education

“I enrolled in this programme because I want to become an early childhood teacher, but I needed to build my skills for degree level study. I taught my own children before they entered primary school and I believe quality teaching at this young age can instil a love for learning and education that can help raise achievement for our Pasifika children. I love what I’m learning and although I’ve had to work hard to master computer skills in podcasting, powerpoint and online class discussions, this is excellent preparation for further study. Our lecturers are very helpful, we have many stimulating discussions in class and I find researching and writing my assignments really satisfying.”

Find out more about the Foundation Certificate Education.

Keli Fuimaono


Samoa, Cook Islands
Studying the Bachelor of Human Services (Youth Work)

“I first thought about working with youth at high school when a friend experiencing mental illness fell through the gaps. I could see a real need for youth workers in education so I enrolled in the diploma straight out of school and then worked on preventative strategies creating out of school programmes for education providers. Now I have returned to gain this degree level qualification so that I can continue helping young people. This is a really satisfying career, especially when you meet young people who you have helped and they tell you what they have been able to achieve.”

Find out more about the Bachelor of Human Services (Youth Work major).

Tracey Vakaafi Viviani


Studying the Bachelor of Education (Teaching) ECE Pasifika Specialisation

“At primary school I really liked role-playing teachers with the new entrants and later, when I took my own kids to preschool I enjoyed the happy atmosphere. I realised that’s where I wanted to be so changed from full-time work to study. The timetable of the programme with lecture free days attracted me, and I feel this is a way to help my Niue people and share my culture with children from all backgrounds in the wider community. What I am learning is really opening my eyes, and I can see that it’s important to cater for Pasifika children as individuals with diverse and unique identities.”

Find out more about the Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Early Childhood Education Pasifika specialisation.

Sue Jackman


Samoa, Tokelau
Studying the Bachelor of Social Work

“I got interested in studying social work after my five children and I were helped through a difficult time by a social worker who showed real commitment, empathy and honesty with our case. So as a survivor I feel I have something to offer others. Although I’m a practical person with lots of life experience, studying the practice theory and psychology has been really important because just wanting to help others is not enough – you need to know how to do it properly. My goal is to provide for my kids and help others who need support – particularly families in the refugee community.”

Find out more about the Bachelor of Social Work.

Maryanne Pale, MEd


PhD candidate

“I became interested in research after working as a primary school and reading recovery teacher, and worked as a research assistant at the Woolf Fisher Research Centre while I did my masters. My doctoral research examines how vocabulary is taught in two Tongan bilingual contexts and the impact that vocabulary instruction has on students' reading comprehension, with the hope that this will raise achievement for Pasifika children. I hope this journey acts as a stepping stone for me as a Tongan researcher, and I believe that the best contribution that I can make to education is to continue developing as an academic and engaging in educational research that makes a difference to Tongan and Pasifika student achievement.”

Find out more about postgraduate programmes at the Faculty of Education and Social Work.


Papaliitele Moeimanono Fouvaa, MEd (Distinction)


PhD candidate

“Being a Samoan doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Education and Social Work has given me insight into education in terms of conducting research. Working with professors, doctors, researchers and other groups with different areas of expertise has broadened my understanding of what’s all around us. The friendly atmosphere of the University and assistance from staff has enabled me to pursue my journey and to fulfil my dreams. The availability of modern resources and sharing collaboratively with other multicultural scholars has provided many opportunities to acquire colourful experiences in learning that will be continually employed in various sectors of education, our societies and communities for today and tomorrow’s worlds. Ma le faaaloalo lava.”

Find out more about postgraduate programmes at the Faculty of Education and Social Work.