News 10 May 2018
With parents from Samoa and ties to Alofi in Niue and Hofoa in Tonga, Suzanne Suisuiki is entirely at ease coming from a ‘blended Pacific’ background. In fact, covering the Pacific region as PCF’s new marketing and communications manager makes her feel as though she’s landed her ‘dream job’.
“I’ve always had a passion to work with Pacific communities and I’ve been privileged to do so in comms for the Counties Manukau District Health Board,” says Suzanne, who graduated from AUT and also worked for PRINZ (Public Relations Institute of NZ) before joining PCF.
“But going into the region to promote what we do by generating stories that have a positive impact on people is an exciting opportunity.”
From the Samoan villages of Satapuala (her father’s village) and Letogo (her mother’s) on the island of Upolu, Suzanne became an avid reader of Samoan literature as a youngster, with Albert Wendt, Sia Figiel and Lani Wendt-Young being her favourite authors. She would avidly borrow books from her local library in the East Auckland suburb of Glen Innes, but was disappointed there was a lack of recognition of Pacific literature, particularly at school.
Suzanne’s community spirit saw her start a cultural group a few years ago and seeing the Te Oro Music and Arts Centre open in 2015 couldn’t have come soon enough.
Having a busy social life doesn’t prevent her from new ventures, with her also taking up salsa dancing and plenty of walking to keep fit. Keeping her mind fit is her growing interest in politics, particularly with her stepmother Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki being a New Zealand Member of Parliament for the Labour Party.
“I’d love to see more young Pasifika people getting involved in the political scene,” she says.
“Doing so gives them an opportunity to work out solutions. And seeing how that can benefit Pasifika people across the region can only be good.”