A partnership with the Quality Education Services (QES) Tupu Aotearoa team has seen Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Pasifika tauira on the Police Preparation programme in Māngere being supported through the extended COVID-19 lockdown in Tāmaki Makaurau.
The QES Tupu Aotearoa team is this year supporting Pasifika tauira from the programme through their studies and on to employment, and providing whatever assistance possible to overcome anything that may pose a barrier to their success.
During lockdown, QES Tupu Aotearoa has not only kept in contact with the tauira, but also ensured they were continuing to engage with the programme and provided extra support where needed.
In recent weeks, 29 tauira and their whānau have received eggs, fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and pantry items to assist with the lockdown needs.
Jahna Fiu, national vocations adviser for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, says with schools closed, many Tāmaki Makaurau families have children at home, putting additional stress on budgets.
“When they are at school during the week, many receive free lunches but with children at home, a normal grocery run which would usually suffice, may not last as long, so this support is really helpful for our tauira and their whānau,” she says.
“It’s been tough for many of our tauira and their whānau during lockdown so any additional support that is available to encourage them to continue with their studies during these challenging times is very much appreciated, and we have been afforded an opportunity through QES Tupu Aotearoa.”
Perise Iupeli, an employment coordinator for Quality Education Services (QES) - a contracted service provider for Tupu Aotearoa - says supporting Pasifika people into employment or education is among their core tasks.
“We support anyone of Pasifika decent looking to go into higher education or employment or change their career. Our vision is all about bringing help and hope to the community,” she says.
“Specifically with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, we go and talk to tauira about how we can provide holistic support for them as they study. We regularly check in with them about what they need and how we can alleviate any issues they may face.”
“We have a mandate and a passion to provide wrap around and holistic support with any practical needs. When they go to police college, it’s a hard job, so we support them. We want them to have a positive experience and the hope is that they carry that forward.”
QES kaimahi are deemed essential workers so are able to make home visits and discuss the needs of tauira, along with engaging via phone, text and email.
“During lockdown we’ve seen a great need for kai, a lot of students are from big families and kai is definitely a factor affecting families in lockdown. You don’t know that unless you turn up and ask ‘do you need anything’. One whānau were beside themselves, they didn’t know how they would get through so the response has been really positive, they are just blown away.”
Aside from kai, Perise says they also check on their emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing.
“As police prep tauira, they have to train during lockdown and stay on top of their fitness, they also have to stay mentally fit, provide for their family, study and stay committed to the course.
“Some tauira disengage and couldn’t handle turning up online, but after engagement with us, they went back to class,” she says.
“We want them to finish the course and move on to the next thing. We encourage them not to give up. We understand it’s hard but remember your purpose, focus on you and your why.”
“As a Christian organisation, if we can show them the love of God, our prayer is that they go out and do the same to others. For us it is such an honour, the tauira are awesome.”