2 Nov 2018

Auckland University creates new Pacific leadership role

2:35 pm on 2 November 2018

Auckland University in New Zealand has created a new Pacific role in its senior leadership team.

Assoc. Prof. Damon Salesa

Toeolesulusulu Damon Salesa Photo: University of Auckland

Toeolesulusulu Damon Salesa is now the university's Pro Vice-Chancellor Pacific.

Dr Salesa said the role would improve Auckland University's response to the needs of Pacific students.

"The question for other universities in New Zealand may well be wanting to join us, not just in creating a title because that won't lead to change, but actually wanting to join us in having this beautiful and really distinctive engagement and connection with the Pacific."

Staff and students at Auckland University had been pushing for a central Pacific leadership role for a long time, Dr Salesa said.

"I think it's a really important acknowledgement of the past work of students, staff and the community to have someone who is part of the university leadership and who has direct responsibility and connection to the Pacific."

Universities in New Zealand were already struggling with financials and it is unlikely there would be any new courses, but Auckland University already had a strong Pacific offering and would build on this, he said.

"I think there will be a real shift forward in how effective we are in this Pacific space, or at least that's my job."