I know it seems somewhat unconventional to begin this paper with the words of my eldest son’s Year 12 speech, especially when the first few stanzas reflect deficit profiling of Cook Islands Māori people. But this paper is not focused on deficit profiling at all—far from it. However, as I pondered on Fa’avae’s abstract in this Waikato Journal of Education volume, I was moved by his inclusion of Pacific educator’s voices from Realm nations with the intent to provide an “analytical lens centred on unpacking stories and insights” (Fa’avae, 2022), focused on change in Pasifika/Pacific education, in Aotearoa NZ. The emphasis on voices and stories reminded me of the purpose of my son’s speech in high school—one that was inspired by the young writer Joshua Iosefa’s 2012 spoken word poem titled ‘Brown Brother’ (Iosefa, 2012). In his article Fa’avae advocates for a greater presence of Pacific educators and leaders from Aotearoa NZ’s Realm Nations in higher education, enabling their (our) voices, knowledges, and Indigenous languages, with the intent to inspire and empower others into this space, and prioritising insights often ignored. This paper is my response to his article.
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