Minister of Education, Hon Chris Hipkins has appointed Tagaloatele Professor Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop CNZM to Te Pūkenga Council.
Tagaloatele Peggy (Sa Te’o, Sa Petaia and Sa Atoa) is an Emeritus Professor at the Auckland University of Technology and has had a long and distinguished career fostering the involvement and achievement of Pasifika students in tertiary institutions.
After completing her teaching diploma at Wellington Teachers’ College, Tagaloatele taught in Porirua and at Māori designated schools before taking up a lecturer post in education at Wellington Teacher’s College. Tagaloatele relocated to Samoa in 1980 with her family and taught at the Secondary Teachers’ College followed by 15 years at the University of the South Pacific School of Agricultural (Alafua), in agriculture and extension.
In addition to this, she held various United Nations regional posts, including Sustainable Human Development Adviser (UNDP) the Pacific UNIFEM programme and, the UNESCO Regional Office (Apia). Tagaloatele Peggy is currently the Social Sciences Commissioner for the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO.
Tagaloatele brings a strong understanding of the cultural values, beliefs and practises of minority communities.
Te Pūkenga Council Chair, Murray Strong, said Professor Fairbairn-Dunlop’s appointment provided a highly experienced and knowledgeable Pasifika voice at a governance level to the transformation of the vocational education system.
“Tagaloatele has been a tireless and passionate advocate for Pasifika communities, throughout a distinguished career, both here in Aotearoa and in the Pacific Islands. Her teaching and research on community development for youth, women and vulnerable groups will provide an invaluable perspective as we seek to ensure Te Pūkenga meets the needs of those currently under-represented by vocational education.”
Tagaloatele has contributed to significant government and NGO policy affecting the Pacific community. Her CNZM was awarded in 2015 for services to education and the Pacific community.
Tagaloatele is excited about the increased opportunities Te Pūkenga will provide for Pasifika students.
“Te Pūkenga vision is exciting! For too long Pacific families have viewed tertiary education as the pathway to becoming a lawyer, a doctor or an accountant for example. Te Pūkenga strength-based model will open up new worlds for Pacific and other students by increasing their access to a broader range of career options, each of which, is backed by quality and latest state of the art teaching - learning approaches”, she says.
Professor Fairbairn-Dunlop will begin her role on April 1, 2021.