My parents migrated from Samoa in the 1970s. During this period Pacific Peoples flooded into New Zealand to help the shortage of blue collared workers and to grow the economy. As new migrants they faced new challenges and a different culture. They adapted to learning English and the Aotearoa New Zealand way of life was very difficult but they pursued their goals to provide for their family.
My Mother Ioana was born in raised in the village of Faleasiu in Samoa. She helped her Father Tumaua Filipo Fonoti with the farm in producing crops, raising and taking care of the animals and vegetation for the markets and serving the village. She raised her five children alongside my Father Reverend Fogatia Levi and taught Samoan culture and served the local Church as well as sitting on boards in Dunedin and Auckland. My Father is from Savai'i Samoa. He worked in the Railways industry and left this job to pursue University studies, first through St Johns in his 40s and then continued onto Knox theological hall in Dunedin in the early 1990s. He then trained and was ordained as a New Zealand Presbyterian Minister completing his Theological training. Their sacrifices and hard work gave myself and my siblings greater opportunities in education and career pathways.
Myself and my sister Agnes are Otago graduates and my older brother Tupa’i Lelei Lonny Levi completed his Masters Degree studies in Auckland University and my younger brother Levi Junior Tia Levi completed his Media Design School qualifications. Nelson Mandela's words ring true that Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world. Like my Father our World changed for the better with my parents faith and sacrifices.