The appointment of the University of Waikato’s first Assistant Vice-Chancellor Pacific in February 2019 was an important milestone, not only recognising years of work and dedication by numerous Pacific and Māori staff, but triggering a new strategic direction for ‘Pacific at Waikato’. This paper explains that journey, one that is underpinned by Pacific cultural legacies, strengths, values and identity; built on talanoa-vā; informed by research, data analytics, student and community voice; combined with strategic thought and planning; and outworked in the pan-Pacific epithet, ‘imua’. This is a story of resilience, determination, negotiating a pandemic, problem-solving and innovation in an environment that seeks a ‘culture of belonging’ and where Pacific learners are encouraged to be themselves in the pursuit of educational achievement. This paper will be of interest to education providers, stakeholders and policy makers.
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