Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) has opened the doors to their first ever Pasifika Community Centre dedicated to Pacific people of all cultures and faiths.
Officially opened by the Hon. Steven Joyce, Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, and Hon. Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, Minister for Pacific Peoples, the opening was also attended by the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Henry Tuakeu Puna, Pasifika delegates, MPs, community leaders and MIT staff and students.
Dr Stuart Middleton, Director of External Relations at MIT, says the project has been an eight year journey for MIT with the Pasifika community, and that they should take full ownership of the centre.
“We want the community to make this new place their place. It is a place for all Pasifika,” says Dr Middleton.
The centre hosts spaces that can be used for many purposes and, in most cases, free of charge. From spaces for meetings of all kinds and quiet social activity to special educational events such as lectures.
Seiula Terri Leo-Mauu, Manager of Pasifika Development at MIT, says the facilities available are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of benefits for the community.
“The benefits are the engagement and the connection we’re going to have with a lot of our community coming in and connecting with MIT,” says Leo-Mauu.
“We’re really quite happy and proud of the fact that we’re offering something that this community wanted. They can come and use it while, at the same time it's not costing them anything.”
The centre has been a massive dream for MIT, says Leo-Mauu who says she only came in at the latter end of the dream’s fruition but knows that it’s been an eight-year wait.
“I really feel that the wait’s been worth it. Everyone’s happy and proud. It’s not just rooms that we’ve got, but a natural, massive community that’s here now at MIT and able to come together.”
Check out photos from the Opening in our gallery below.
Please click on the images to enlarge them.