Congratulations to Reima Kolose, who has been appointed as our new Cultural Partner (Pasifika).
A familiar face to many, Reima has had a long association with Emerge Aotearoa. She first started with the organisation in 2008, and worked in various roles, before she moved with her family to Samoa, seven years ago.
She says she is very happy to be back with her Emerge Aotearoa whānau. “I’m loving it. Witnessing the growth in the people we support is very dear to my heart, and I know I try my best to serve people in a meaningful way.”
Reima says being culturally aware is very important when we are thinking about our engagement with Pasifika people. She uses a story she wrote for Te Kete as an example. It talks about a Pasifika residential service that has planted a mini plantation to help support people’s wellbeing through connection to the land and growing meaai (food).
“It’s about considering ‘what is the most meaningful way of supporting a Pasifika family?’. That’s what ignited a passion within me to apply for this job,” Reima says.
In 2015, Reima and her husband moved with their family to Samoa to attend Malua Theological College. They graduated in 2019 and returned to Aotearoa just before the COVID-19 pandemic began. In 2020, she began casual work for Emerge Aotearoa to reconnect with the organisation.
“I think I went to most of our residential services in Henderson and Central Auckland at that time. It was nice to familiarise myself with the organisation because it had grown so much in the time I’d been away,” she says.
The casual work soon led to a permanent role as a Community Support Worker, and then an opportunity came up in the Pacific Residential Service in South Auckland. It was during this time that she was asked to facilitate the Niue Language Week karakia.
“That was the turning point,” she says. “It was after that day I decided I can do this. Not only am I fluent in Samoan, but I have also lived in Fiji for more than four years, and I have a basic knowledge of other Pasifika languages, so when the Cultural Partner (Pasifika) role came up, I decided to apply for it,” she says.
“I leave you with the following proverb– ‘E mamae le tava’e i ona fulu’. It is for me a symbol of treasuring our Pasifika culture with respect because it is who we are as people. I acknowledge that everyone has a unique culture, and we need to learn from each other.”