Dr Tafili Utumapu-McBride’s “migrant mentality” is what motivates her in her position as a senior lecturer in AUT's School of Education.
“I came to this country for a reason: to aspire to better things, like education. Interacting and supporting students every day is very close to my heart.
"I understand what it is like to be at university with families that have aspirations for them, so they can contribute meaningfully to their communities.”
Tafili’s current research is looking at the Pasifika Education programme through a Samoan perspective, in a conceptual framework.
“I am looking at ways our concepts and knowledge can be documented so it can be used in the mainstream curriculum. I want to make sure some of the milestones which we have reached with our authentic programme can be maintained.”
“Being born in Samoa and raised in New Zealand means I bring my spirituality and humility into my role here.
“In Samoa, we look at leadership as something that has been earned through service. For me, the aspects of my culture and the relationships I make with people are what is important.
“For me, when you love what you are doing, it shows in your teaching and in the way you relate to people.”