Community Star shares her light

posted: 3:00 pm - 31st January 2018

(Main picture caption: The 2016 PMPYA recepients.)

New Zealand-born Tongan Emma Takataka shines bright as she continues to realise her true potential. 

The Auckland Council Community Star recipient at the 2016 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards (PMPYA) says receiving the award, and accepting a three-month paid internship at Auckland Council has had a positive impact on her life.

 “The internship has redirected my thinking on what I can do, it has enabled me to expand networks, get exposure to a big organisation and value the role and voice I have as a young Pacific woman living in Auckland,” the 23-year-old says.

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 Auckland Council’s Community Star award recognises a young person who has made a significant contribution to the wellbeing of their local community, which Emma has done at home in Otara, as well as at university.

Emma is studying Law and Arts at the University of Auckland where she is an actively engaged member of the Pacific Island Law Student Association (PILSA).

She is also involved in Movement for Action and Law to Overcome Social Injustices (MALOSI) Project, which motivates young people to share discourse on legal and policy issues Pacific people face, educate Pacific people on their rights and advocates for Pacific people in legal and political spheres.

In 2016, Emma was elected her law school’s Cultural Officer, and she has been mentoring disadvantaged high school-aged Pacific and Maori youth with the Great Potentials Foundation.

Emma is also an entrepreneur, establishing a small health and beauty business venture with her sister in hopes of promoting self-confidence in others.

As the eldest of nine children, Emma’s values stem from the humility, empathy and love displayed to her by her parents.

Emma is a volunteer youth leader in the Tangaroa Ward in Tamaki Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, volunteering at least three hours a week to support young girls aged 12-18 realise their true potential, as well as help run community activities, and she is also a member of the Otara Papatoetoe Youth Council Advisory, which works with local government leaders in the area.

This gives her the opportunity to be a voice for the vulnerable and unheard, representing the voice of youth in Otara and Papatoetoe.

 “I aspire in the future to work within institutions which make the central decisions to policy and legal issues which impact Pacific people,” Emma says.

The paid internship at Auckland Council has helped her see first-hand how decisions are made, and implemented.

Emma, who would not have applied for PMPYA if it were not for her parents’ encouragement, says the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) supported initiative positively promotes Pasifika achievement, and recognises the contribution Pacific youth are making throughout NZ. 

 “I would definitely recommend any youth to apply - regardless of your background where you come from everyone has a chance and should be proud of the work that they’ve done.”

 Early bird applications are due in on January 31 – every entrant has a chance to win Air NZ flights for two people to a major city in NZ, while applications can be submitted until February 6.

 Visit MPP to apply.