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Policy highlights complex lived realities of Pacific Aotearoa

Policy highlights complex lived realities of Pacific Aotearoa

  • 04 Oct 2020
MPP Staff Profile

Leilani Unasa feels her “value add” is to help shine a bright and unwavering light on the complex lived realities of Pacific communities, while keeping people in the conversation about what this means across society. 

Having spent the last 10 months working as the Senior Policy Manager of the Pacific Education Policy team at the Ministry of Education, Leilani has accepted an 18-month secondment with the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) as the Director of Policy. 

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples is right at the beginning of a phase of tremendous growth and change, and Leilani, who is of Samoan, Welsh and English descent, says she can see both opportunities and challenges ahead in the new role. 

“However, this is the kind of professional context I find invigorating, a bit scary, and testing in all of the right ways,” Leilani says. 

“When the secondment opportunity came up, it made sense to take it.” 

There are clear objectives laid out for Leilani in the Director of Policy role, she adds. 

“Most immediately, I will be standing up new teams and building a work programme. 

“As well as that, I want to contribute to a policy practice that is empathetic, three dimensional, and highly adaptive.” 

Leilani brings a valuable skillset to MPP, as well as a desire to serve and see Pacific people thriving in all aspects of life, which aligns with the Ministry’s Pacific Vision and Lalanga Fou goals. 

“I’m wired to draw meaning from the world through the big systems it is made up of and I have been trained to practice collectivism through my upbringing, career, and family life - I bring these things into any work I do.” 

With education key to success in life, Leilani’s experience at the Ministry of Education will be useful at MPP, particularly when looking at initiatives for young people including the Toloa Programme. 

“I started right at the time when the final stages of work were being done for the Action Plan for Pacific Education 2020-2030, so I bring a detailed working understanding of this policy context from my current role,” Leilani explains.    

The secondment is also an opportunity to gain valuable experience to take back to the Ministry of Education, which will depend on what she learns along the way, she says. 

“I prefer to pick up on cues around me rather than predict what might happen at the beginning of new roles and journeys. 

“I think this year, more than ever, has reminded me that we can never count on anything with certainty.” 

Work for MPP 

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples is currently seeking a Policy Advisor/Senior Policy Advisor – Influence and Advice, to be based in Wellington, on secondment or a fixed term 12-month contract.

In this role, the successful applicant will work collaboratively across the wider Policy teams to support, advise, and influence decision-making on key issues and opportunities for improving the current, near, medium, and long-term wellbeing of Pacific peoples in Aotearoa.

If you would like more information please email [email protected] quoting the position title in the subject.  

Applications close on October 11, at 11.59pm. 

Visit MPP for all of our current vacancies.