Janet Tupou: Speaking life into your goals and seeing dreams come true

Dr Janet Tupou … injecting diversity into university communications space. Image: AUT Pacific

By Dr Janet Tupou

Hand over heart, speaking life into your goals and dreams can see them come true.

After sitting in my first ever lecture at university, I knew that I wanted to be the one on the other side of the lectern. Week after week for three years in my undergraduate studies, I failed to see any Māori or Pasifika educators on the stage.

It was during those years that I set out the goal to be a university lecturer to inject some diversity into that space. Six years on, you can find me in front of the lecture stage and classroom, doing just that.

After completing a Bachelor of Communications Studies and honours degree, I began studying a Masters focusing on emotional labour. In other words, I call it ‘mastering the art of wearing different masks.’

As I was studying, I began teaching on undergraduate papers, the very same ones I had taken a few years back. It was such a surreal moment, to be lecturing alongside the same educators that once taught me. And it still is.

I then began studying a PhD called (De)constructing Tongan Creativity: A talanoa about walking in two worlds, which was recently awarded. The topic came to me after noticing a lack of scholarship around creativity in Tongan culture while I was teaching.


I wanted to show all sides of the story, particularly from a Tongan perspective. I therefore wanted to explore what creativity meant for Tongan people, specifically Tongan youth in New Zealand, and that’s exactly what I did.

Identity crisis
Creativity is seen as a concept that can be seen as a threat to the Tongan culture. For example, for Tongans who are born in New Zealand, there can be an identity crisis in how to express one’s Tonganness in a Western world.

I found there is a lack of awareness of how much creativity and studying creative subjects at a higher level can better Tongan people.

My passion of exploring the notion of creativity at a deeper level is also put into practice in my teaching approaches, by way of allowing students to share their creative outlooks, voices and perspectives on any given topic that is discussed in a safe space. At the same time, to back up my talk, I walked the walk by studying my Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Teaching.

As well as lecturing full time, I am also a part time real estate salesperson. I use my skills to help educate and shed light on the complicated terminology and processes in this industry that often exploits people. How did I get to where I am today?

As a Christian, my faith has helped me power through achieving goals. Supportive family and friends, commitment and taking up incredible opportunities at institutions such as AUT has also played a huge part in my journey.

My ultimate goal as a teacher is to nurture belief in students to dream big and to achieve big. The classroom is my space to encourage students to be the best versions of themselves, because “Hand over heart, speaking life into your goals and dreams can see them come true.”

Dr Janet Tupou is a lecturer in Communication Studies and chair of the AUT School of Communication Studies diversity committee. This article was first published by Spasifik magazine and is republished by Asia Pacific Report with permission.

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Refugee, migrant culinary delights boost new diversity cookbook

Students who volunteered for the AUT migrant cookbook include Leilani Sitagata (from left), Amina Mohamed and Tiana Lambert, who spoke of their experience last night. Image: Rahul Bhattarai/PMC

By Rahul Bhattarai

Students and staff gathered in Auckland last night to launch a cookbook with a difference celebrating culinary delights from refugee or immigrant families – and to taste some of the special 15 recipes.

The recipes in Tastes of Home, published by Auckland University of Technology to support an educational scholarship for refugees, were an instant success.

Chapters and the recipes have been provided by volunteer student contributors drawing on their family culinary secrets.

READ MORE: Diversity at Auckland University of Technology

“These recipes have been tested and standardised by the culinary art students for the cook book,” says Lian-Hong Brebner, a diversity manager at AUT and one of the co-editors with Professor Alison McIntosh.

“This is more then a cookbook, it’s about celebration of AUT’s diversity that refugee and migrant background students bring to us, and their their tradition of hospitality,” says Brebner.

Foods made from the recipe of the cookbook out on display for customers to taste. Image: Rahul Bhattarai/PMC


Encouraging diversity
AUT as a university encourages diversity and was also the first university in New Zealand to appoint a professor of diversity – Professor Edwina Pio.

“We are also proud to be the first and only New Zealand university to appoint a professor of diversity,” says Dr Andrew Codling, who is the head of the vice-chancellors office.

“We are proud that our students and staff are from over 100 nationalities on our campuses, and in fact over 52 percent of our staff were born overseas – and I am one of them,” says Dr Codling.

Seven percent of the staff are from the Pacific, 6 percent are Maori and 64 percent of the professional staff are female.

AUT scholarship program
Proceeds from the book sales will go towards a scholarship programme for future refugee students.

Part of a chapter in the cookbook that was contributed by AUT student journalist Leilani Sitagata. Image Rahul Bhattarai/PMC

About 50 volunteers from diverse backgrounds worked around the clock to make the book possible.

“I volunteered to be part of the project because I loved that the proceeds would be going towards a scholarship for refugees,” says Leilani Sitagata, who is a final year AUT student journalist.

“As I’m a journalism major, I knew how to write, and I love my food – so I thought why not combine the two and help write a cookbook.”

Homemade cuisines from around the world featured in the book include Afgan, Iranian, Iraqi, Kurdish, Maori and Samoan and many other dishes.

On launch day, 38 copies were sold with a further 100 copies already being pre-ordered online.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Lifetime of devotion to Māori and Pacific student success

Tui O’Sullivan (right) with Tagaloatele Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop at the Pacific Media Centre recently when retiring. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

PROFILE: By Leilani Sitagata

Educator and kuia Tui O’Sullivan has recently retired from Auckland University of Technology after close to 40 years of service.

Born and breed up North in the heart of Ahipara, she says choosing to do tertiary study was the right choice for her.

“Growing up as a young girl you were told to pick from three directions – academic, commercial or homecraft,” O’Sullivan says.

“I never had a burning desire to become a teacher, but it just seemed like the best fit for me to follow that path.”

Over the years, O’Sullivan (Te Rarawa and Ngati Kahu) gained a Bachelor of Arts, Master’s in Education (Māori), a Diploma in Ethics and a Diploma in Teaching.

“Coming from a town where you didn’t know names, but everyone was Aunty or Uncle, Auckland was by far a change of scenery.”


O’Sullivan was appointed as the first Māori academic at AUT, then AIT.

Tui O’Sullivan at her recent Auckland University of Technology farewell on Ngā Wai o Horotiu marae. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

Evening classes
She says she taught evening classes on literacy twice a week and had many people from the Pacific wanting to improve their written and oral skills.

“A number of them were members of church groups who wanted to polish up for competitions involving writing and speaking.”

Alongside the night classes, O’Sullivan was involved in the formation of the newspaper Password.

“We formed a newspaper which explained certain things about living in New Zealand, among other things like the Treaty of Waitangi and Māori culture.”

O’Sullivan says there was an increasing number of immigrants to her English classes and Password helped with their immersion into a new culture.

While working in general studies, she says she helped teach communications English and basic skills to full time students, predominantly young men.

However, women started to come along to O’Sullivan’s teaching and the numbers slowly grew.

Tui O’Sullivan (right) with fellow foundation Pacific Media Centre advisory board member Isabella Rasch. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

First women’s group
O’Sullivan was part of the creation of the very first women’s group on campus.

“A senior lecturer approached a couple of us women staff asking if we could keep an eye out for the young women and be an ear should they need that.

“From there Women on Campus developed which looked after the interests of women students and staff members.”

She said they switched the name of the group over the years because what they originally chose didn’t have a ring to it.

“We were called Women’s Action Group for a while, but WAG didn’t sound too good.”

Another first for the university was the establishment of the Ngā Wai o Horotiu marae in 1997 which Tui said she’ll forever remember.

When the marae was officially opened more than 1000 people turned up to celebrate the momentous occasion.

Students and staff at the Pacific Media Centre’s farewell for Tui O’Sullivan. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

Emphasis on diversity
The marae opening signified AUT acknowledging the Treaty of Waitangi and further emphasised the diversity within the university.

“The majority of staff here have had this willingness and openness to support and promote success for Māori and Pacific students.”

When asked what was one of the most gratifying times for her during her time at AUT, O’Sullivan simply says applauding the young people who cross the stage.

“I always seem to end up with lots of those lolly leis because people end up with so many, and they get off-loaded to me.”

O”Sullivan says that over the years she’s never missed a graduation for her faculty regardless of how many there are.

“Seeing students wearing their kakahu or family korowai, and others who have grown to learn more about their whakapapa and their place in the world.

“Those are the most rewarding times for me.”

O’Sullivan was the equity adviser for the Faculty of Creative Technologies and lectured in Te Tiriti o Waitangi and community issues. She was also a strong advocate of the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) and a foundation member of the advisory board for AUT’s Pacific Media Centre from 2007.

She insists she hasn’t left a legacy but has been part of an ever evolving journey that AUT is going through.

Tui O’Sullivan (centre) with Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie and advisory board chair Associate Professor Camille Nakhid. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

NZ to give $6 million boost for USPNet telecommunications upgrade

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: NZ to give $6 million boost for USPNet telecommunications upgrade

USPNet … the regional University of the South Pacific’s satellite educational communications system. Image: USP

By Salote Qalubau in Suva

The New Zealand government has committed $NZ6 million ($F8.84 million) to improve the University of the South Pacific’s digital e-learning sector.

The commitment was revealed by USP Vice-Chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra during the unveiling of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) commemorative monument at the Laucala campus last week.

The grant is expected to boost USPNet and ICT developments.

“New Zealand contributed significantly to the development of USPNet and to ICT development that strengthened links between all our campuses and greatly improved both the administrative communication and the teaching capacity of USP,” he said.

“We are very grateful that NZ has made a grant of $NZ6 million to totally re-engineer USPNet and replace all the satellite dishes to create a 21st century learning network for the Pacific Islands. This is a special contribution from NZ to mark our 50th anniversary.”

Air force base campus
Meanwhile, New Zealand Defence Minister Ron Mark also announced two new developments in Fiji and New Zealand’s defence relationship when he joined more than 100 ex-5 Squadron servicemen and women for the unveiling of the commemorative monument to mark the land that was once home to the RNZAF 32 years ago.


“The New Zealand government announced the deployment of both the Royal New Zealand Navy inshore and offshore patrol vessels to Fiji later this year. The first, the IPV will be here in May, the OPV will follow after that,” he said.

“These and the deployment of the two technical advisers from the New Zealand Army and the Royal New Zealand Navy are two examples of our collaborative approach to supporting the development of our respective forces.”

Mark said he was also honoured to be able to commemorate the unveiling of the monument and the university’s 50th anniversary.

“Both of these partnerships are very important to New Zealand,” he said.

Salote Qalubau is a final year University of the South Pacific journalism student reporting for Wansolwara News.

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Indonesia losing only female top justice amid gender rights worries

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Indonesia losing only female top justice amid gender rights worries

By Rieka Rahadiana and Yudith Ho in Jakarta

Indonesia is set to lose its first and only female constitutional justice, whose term is up next year, potentially dealing a blow to women’s rights in a country where they’re being challenged in the face of growing religious conservatism.

Maria Farida Indrati will end her second and final term in about eight months, leaving the nine-member board of justices entirely male on one of the two highest courts in the country — where cases on discrimination, domestic violence, early-age marriage and female political participation continually arise.

The constitutional court differs from the supreme court, where the top judges are all male and which determines final appeal in legal matters not deemed to be constitutional.

“The point of view I bring to the table is different from what my male colleagues present,” the 68-year-old judge told Bloomberg in an interview.

It’s not a certainty that Indrati’s replacement, who likely will be chosen by President Joko Widodo from a list of three candidates picked by a committee, will be male.

While her successor won’t be known for several months or even until after her departure, Indrati said there are several qualified women to consider. She herself was chosen by former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2008 after decades of lecturing in law at the University of Indonesia and assisting lawmakers in drafting legislation.


In Indonesia, female law students prefer a career outside the courtroom rather than in it because “women don’t like to be seen as argumentative or to debate,” said Indrati, who plans to return to teaching full time when her term finishes. Quotas aren’t the solution to increasing women’s participation in public life, including on the bench, she said.

‘Be unafraid’
“It is important that women take this role and be unafraid to take this role,” said the judge, who suffered from polio as a child and walks with a limp.

Although when she was young she aspired to be a piano teacher, Indrati listened to the advice of her father, a journalist and former teacher who had wanted to complete his unfinished law degree.

He encouraged his daughter to study to become a law professor instead, according to her official biography.

When the constitutional court in 2015 declined a judicial review to raise the decades-old minimum legal marital age for women from currently 16 years old to 18, Indrati was the only justice with a dissenting opinion.

Raising the marriage age to 18 would allow girls more of a chance to secure their futures, Indrati said. The challenge was brought by a group promoting women’s health. Activists are again appealing, seeking to have the case heard again.

Last week, Indrati cast a decisive vote in the court’s decision rejecting by 5-4 a petition by conservative academics seeking to deem extramarital and gay sex as crimes punishable by prison terms.

She has also ruled in favour of other gender and minority-related cases such as pornography and blasphemy.

More difficulties
“It’s not always the case where the existence of a female justice means the law will take the side of women,” said Indri Suparno, a commissioner at the National Commission on Violence Against Women. “But the absence will give more difficulties to women to become more progressive.”

Southeast Asia’s biggest economy is considered a model of moderate Islam.

The president, known as Jokowi, has put more women into senior roles compared with other Muslim-majority countries — a record nine of 34 cabinet ministers, the most among the world’s most populous countries.

High profile officials include Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi — a first in the country’s history — and Maritime and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti. Rosmaya Hadi became Bank Indonesia’s only female deputy governor this year.

The country also imposes gender quotas for political party candidates put forward for public office.

In 2016, Jokowi launched the first nationwide survey on violence against women and children. However, he’s been silent on calls from human rights groups to end virginity tests for women applying to the military and the police.

Polygamy app
Worries over women’s rights have increased as attempts to hamper equality have been made more openly. A Tinder-like app, AyoPoligami, or Let’s Do Polygamy, and a seminar called “The Quickest Way of Getting Four Wives” have sparked controversy.

Indonesia allows Muslim men to take up to four wives if granted by a court and approved by the first wife.

Some 26 out of 153 countries have women as chief justices, or 17 percent, according to a World Bank report in 2016 called “Women, Business and The Law.”

Outside court
It’s possible that the challenge to the law legalising the age of marriage at 16 may be heard again while Indrati is still on the bench.

Campaigners for women’s rights say that women who marry young will miss out on what’s being called a demographic bonus by 2030 — when the numbers of working-age people are greater than the numbers of elderly — by not being able to further their educations and embark on careers.

The government wants to improve its professional workforce, but allowing women to marry at 16 means they likely will have to stay home and raise families instead of being able to participate, said Zumrotin Susilo, chairwoman of the Women’s Health Foundation, who was involved in the first appeal of the marriage law.

A Central Statistics Agency census in 2010 found 6.7 million out of 78 million women age 15 to 64 hold a bachelor’s degree, or 8.5 percent. About 500,000 women have postgraduate degrees.

“Women have to fight for the presence of female justices and build strong communications and perspective at the constitutional court,” said Suparno of the women commission.

The Jakarta Post

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UST journalism teams up with Asia Pacific Report coverage on Philippines

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: UST journalism teams up with Asia Pacific Report coverage on Philippines

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

UST Journalism programme coordinator Assistant Professor Jeremaiah Opiniano speaking on innovative education changes for journalists in the Philippines. Image: Genelaine Urbano/TW

The oldest journalism school in the Philippines, at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, has joined the Pacific Media Centre’s Asia Pacific Report current affairs project launched last year.

Students and staff filed their first two stories this week for the innovative website published in partnership with Evening Report.

Roy Abrhamn Narra and Carlo Casingcasing reported an exclusive story showing how Canada’s latest global terrorism blacklists were tagging the Philippines as having the third highest number of “individual terrorists” behind Saudi Arabia and Iraq while journalism coordinator Assistant Professor Jeremaiah M. Opiniano covered Philippines Environment Secretary Regina Lopez’s crackdown on mining companies in a bid to encourage a “green economy”.

Twenty three mining companies have been been served with closure notices and  five others face suspensions. One company involved has assets in New Zealand.

Opiniano was pleased with the collaboration and said UST was working towards a more comprehensive partnership with the PMC and School of Communication Studies.

Professor David Robie, director of the PMC and editor of Asia Pacific Report, welcomed the development, saying: “We are delighted to have UST on board and their input will help boost coverage of the Philippines, especially with more depth.”

He said that since the live feed of the Philippines presidential election last year, the website had experienced a strong Filipino interest and this was reflected by the growing audience among the Philippines diaspora in New Zealand.

Asia Pacific Report also collaborates with other journalism schools around the region, including at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji and Wansolwara newspaper.

RNZ features student docos on love, health, tapu and Pacific reflections

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: RNZ features student docos on love, health, tapu and Pacific reflections

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

AUT radio student Shae Osborne in the RNZ studio. Image: AUT

By Laura Williams

Exploring what it’s like to look for love as a 40-something-year-old woman, a grandfather recovering from a stroke, a Pacific grandmother’s recollections, the power of tapu and the life of a bushman are just some of the radio documentaries made by Auckland University of Technology students broadcast on national radio this month.

RNZ National featured seven short documentaries made by final-year Bachelor of Communication Studies students in its Summer Report series.

Students majoring in Radio were given the opportunity to produce a 10-minute radio documentary, on any subject, as a final project for the Radio Performance paper. The paper teaches students how to plan, write, produce and present a radio show or radio documentary.

The paper leader and senior lecturer, Trevor Plant, from the School of Communication Studies, said he was impressed at how the students embraced the project.

“The group of radio majors were amazing this year – talented, passionate, and itching to put into use the practical radio skills they’ve learned,” Plant said.

“They really impressed me with these docos. There was a range of fascinating topics, stories and characters – and some excellent audio story-telling, genuine emotion, and fresh, original angles,” he added.

AUT is the only university to offer this opportunity for students. The relationship between RNZ and AUT has developed over several years.

It started when a guest lecturer from RNZ, impressed with the topics students had chosen for their assignments, asked to hear the finished documentaries. He was so taken by the documentaries, he asked to play them on RNZ National.

‘Intelligence and curiosity’
This year, the documentaries were selected by Justin Gregory, RNZ senior producer – Podcasts and Series / Eyewitness.

“I’m always impressed by the intelligence and curiosity of the AUT radio students and this year has been no different. Every one of them demonstrated a keen and sophisticated sense of the possibilities of sound, and a keen ear for a good story,” Gregory said.

The seven projects selected were broadcast on RNZ National, New Zealand’s most popular radio station, reaching an audience of up to 535,000 people each week.

“With the help of our tutors, and a few all-nighters, a lucky few of us were chosen to have our work played on RNZ National. This made the many hours of planning, interviewing and editing all worth it!” said Shae Osborne, a student whose documentary was selected.

“The feeling of having your own blood, sweat and tears played on your car radio and knowing that when you laugh, others all around New Zealand are laughing with you, is indescribable,” Shae added.

Documentaries broadcast:

  • In Mid-Love Crisis, Shae Osborne tells the story of a 40-something year-old woman who is looking for love.
  •  Demi Arbuckle talks to forestry workers in Life of a Bushman.
  •  Tim Belin looks at cosplay in Is this Just Fantasy?
  • In Tapu, Liam Edkins explores the power of his taonga.
  •  In My Muddled Mind, Hayley Colquhoun tells the story of a granddad beginning his recovery from a stroke.
  •  Nayte Matai’a-Davidson tells stories from 1970s Grey Lynn in What a Time to be Tinted.
  •  In The Road to a Ribbon, Molly Dagger goes to a calf show.

The AUT documentaries will also be featured on the RNZ National website.