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Famili Ako Lelei – Education

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    Famili Ako Lelei

    Since 2006 – Laulõtaha mentoring is an innovative educational project that supports Pasifika students to thrive and be successful. It is a unique and innovative one-to-one mentoring programme delivered by mentors to students within a family, cultural and church context. Laulotaha mentoring is geared for Year 1 to Year 13 school students who are looking for that extra support to achieve academically and are mentored to find the right fit for their career pathway. The programme is FREE and we have 16 sites.

    Established in 2007 in Wellington, The Laulotaha Mentoring programme was founded by Valeti Finau, a Pasefika Education Specialist. Valeti has a Masters in Education from Victoria University, Wellington and has received a New Zealand Order of Merit for the Programme. Advisors to the Programme include Victoria University Professor Emeritus of Innovations in Education in NZ and Dai Gilbertson and Deb Gilbertson Director of Te Kaihau Ltd, an Innovation consultancy company.

    In 2012 the Laulotaha Mentoring Programme was established in Auckland with Northcote College and witnessed by Hon Hekia Parata, the Minister of Education and Minister of Pacific Islands Affairs at the time. The e Auckland branch has been supported by Lifewise Trust and Airedale Property Trust of the Methodist Church of New Zealand.

    During the global Covid 19 pandemic in 2020, lockdowns and uncertainties did not prevent Laulotaha Mentoring from growing. We established 5 Laulotaha centres in Auckland – Wesley College, Aorere College at Papatoetoe (South Auckland), Sandringham (Central Auckland), Rutherford College at Te Atatu Peninsula (West Auckland), and Northcote College (North Shore), and 3 outside of Auckland – Hamilton, Wellington, and Oamaru in the South Island.

    The Programme is also available online for the students and their parents.


    Olita Ako

    Olita Ako is our post-Covid 19 innovative model. It encompasses a core cultural and spiritual value in the life of Tongan and Pasefika families, empowering Tongan families to go back to basics, the main foundation, which is home. They find a newfound joy and sense of pride in learning about their cultural identity as Tongans and Pasefika learners whilst learning through Tongan and Pasefika methods. This reflects on our Famili Ako Lelei vision to support Tongan families to reach their full potential academically and be responsible leaders and citizens within their communities.



    This year we have taken the Laulotaha Programme online due to COVID-19. This transition was critical in our response to the many struggles our learners and their families were experiencing during the pandemic. With the whole country going into lockdown, we could no longer have our mentoring program onsite. Resilience and perseverance are one of the main characteristics of a successful learner, so providing online family zooms fortnightly for our 16 centres was enhancing the way SIAOLA supports learners and their families.


    Kakapa Atu

    This program has been our way of finding new approaches that will empower our learners to succeed academically, and stand firm and confident in their cultural identity, grounded in our spiritual life as Tongan and Pasifika learners. This contributes to the Lalanga Fou goals. We work closely with 19 learners from around Auckland, their parents/guardians, teachers and schools to monitor their progress, and look at opportunities for them to develop skills and knowledge so they can achieve excellence in their studies.

    Central & West Auckland 

    85 Learners

    45 families

    5 churches

    North Shore

    60 learners

    30 families

    4 churches

    South & East Auckland

    130 learners

    85 families

    7 churches