In his role as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP), John Tuamoheloa is constantly reminded the work he is doing is for the good of Pacific Aotearoa.
“Our work serving our Pacific communities honours our parents and those who have paved the way and built the platform for us to stand on today while we weave the foundations for the next generation,” John says.
New Zealand’s Pacific population is youthful, fast growing and diverse, and John says the work he and the MPP team are leading today will hopefully ensure Pacific communities, particularly young people, will have opportunities to pursue their goals, endeavours, dreams and aspirations.
“We can achieve this by ensuring we make informed decisions on behalf of those we represent and by maintaining a critical lens over those policies that land on our desks.
“We need to ensure they align with the interests and values of the Pacific communities we serve.”
John was born in Tonga but migrated to Australia where he completed his primary and intermediate schooling.
In 1994, his family moved to New Zealand, and John attended Kelston Boys High School, before heading to the University of Auckland and the Auckland University of Technology to complete his tertiary studies.
Prior to working at the Ministry, John played professional rugby in England and France, as well as representing Tonga at the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
“Upon returning to New Zealand, I led several initiatives in the NGO sector around community education and youth mentoring and also operated my own businesses,” he explains.
“At the end of 2018, after spending eight months in Tonga to build a family home for my parents, I was beginning to think about returning to New Zealand, while also continuing to serve my people and community - but not necessarily through the NGO sector.
“A friend forwarded me the role of Policy Advisor at MPP and after reading through the Pacific Aotearoa Lalanga Fou report, I felt by working for MPP, I could still serve my people but with an added opportunity to influence new approaches relevant to the aspirations of Pacific peoples in New Zealand today.”
As he goes about his work in the public service, there are daily highlights, as well as challenges to be overcome, John says.
“There are many highlights to our work as we serve our Pacific communities and the general New Zealand population as public servants.
“However, one highlight that sticks out for me is the All of Government Pacific Wellbeing Strategy where cabinet endorsed MPP to lead a new approach to bring a more coordinated approach across government.
“This is being done through collaboration and leadership to influence cross-agency commitment to work efficiently on government investment into Pacific communities.”
Watching Pacific Aotearoa thrive because of this investment makes the energy he pours into his role as a Senior Policy Advisor worthwhile, he adds.
Work for us
We are growing and looking for passionate people to share the voice of our Pacific communities.
Our current vacancies are on the MPP job website, be sure to keep an eye out as our team will be growing over the coming months.