The Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon. Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva, will visit Manukau Institute of Technology’s (MIT) newly opened Pasifika Community Centre on Saturday 30 July, as part of his first official visit to New Zealand.
Dr Stuart Middleton, MIT Director of External Relations, says receiving the Prime Minister at MIT is an “honour in recognition of the strong relationship between MIT and Tongan communities,” and to tour the Centre, which opened last month.
“Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva’s visit is a mark of respect for the work MIT is undertaking both in Tonga and for Tongans living in South Auckland,” he says.
“At MIT, we have a strong commitment to Pasifika and to enabling Pasifika to succeed as Pasifika,” says Dr Middleton.
“Building the MIT Pasifika Community Centre in Ōtara is an integral part of that strategy.”
Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva will be accompanied by Hon. Tevita Lavemaau, Minister for Revenue and Customs, Hon. Poasi Tei, Minister for Public Enterprises, Lord Vaea, Member of Parliament and Nobles Representative, a delegation of Tongan Government officials, and Sarah Walsh, New Zealand High Commissioner to Tonga.
The delegation will also discuss the recent partnership developed by MIT, with support from the Tonga Institute of Science and Technology (TIST), and the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to provide trades training in Tonga.
“Over the past three years, we’ve implemented a programme to train young people in Tonga in vocational and technical trades. It’s been very effective, for the individuals and for the wider community,” says Dr Middleton.
In 2015, more than 200 fifteen year old students in Tonga graduated through the partnership.