Poetry is one way Pasifika societies articulate their stories, histories, and genealogies. We know how foundational words are to the world of libraries. No matter the number of words – poems speak to the mind while speaking with the heart. Poetry is one of the components of our conference theme and so it is our honour to have speaking with us at conference, our first Pasifika Poet Laureate,
Dr Selina Tusitala-Marsh.
Selina is a Pasifika poet-scholar and the current New Zealand Poet Laureate (2017-2019). She was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2019. As the 2016 Commonwealth Poet she wrote and performed a poem for Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey.
Monique Faleafa is CEO of Le Va, which supports Pasifika families and communities to unleash their full potential. Le Va provides national programmes for New Zealand in suicide prevention, mental health and addiction workforce development, violence prevention, mental health promotion, disability support services, public health, cultural competency training and holistic wellbeing.
Monique is also a registered clinical psychologist and has over 20 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector, Pasifika communities, mental health, research and social services. In 2016, Monique was awarded a Member of the NZ Order of Merit and was a finalist in the New Zealand Westpac Women of Influence awards.