Dr Stuart Middleton, MIT Director of External Relations, says receiving the Prime Minister at MIT was an “honour in recognition of the strong relationship between MIT and Tongan communities,” and to tour the Centre, which opened last month.
“Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva’s visit is a mark of respect for the work MIT is undertaking both in Tonga and for Tongans living in South Auckland,” he says.
“At MIT, we have a strong commitment to Pasifika and to enabling Pasifika to succeed as Pasifika,” says Dr Middleton. “Building the MIT Pasifika Community Centre in Ōtara is an integral part of that strategy.”
Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva was accompanied by Hon. Tevita Lavemaau, Minister for Revenue and Customs, Hon. Poasi Tei, Minister for Public Enterprises, Lord Vaea, Member of Parliament and Nobles Representative, a delegation of Tongan Government officials, and Sarah Walsh, New Zealand High Commissioner to Tonga.
The delegation will also discuss the recent partnership developed by MIT, with support from the Tonga Institute of Science and Technology (TIST), and the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to provide trades training in Tonga.
“Over the past three years, we’ve implemented a programme to train young people in Tonga in vocational and technical trades. It’s been very effective, for the individuals and for the wider community,” says Dr Middleton.
In 2015, more than 200 fifteen year old students in Tonga graduated through the partnership.
The Pasifika Community Centre hosts spaces that can be used for many purposes, and in most cases will be free of charge. It has spaces for meetings of all kinds, quiet social activity, welcoming special people to the community, and special educational events such as lectures.
It is located at MIT’s North Campus, Gate 12, Otara Road, Ōtara.