Meet the new Minister for Pacific Peoples
Aupito Tofae Su'a William Sio became the first member of the New Zealand Government to be sworn in at Government House in a ceremony held yesterday, where he made his oath as Minister for Pacific Peoples using his native Samoan tongue, one among 28 other ministers and 3 parliamentary under-secretaries sworn in on the day.
“I’m proud of being bilingual and it’s important to communicate my oath in Samoan for my extended family to understand”, says Aupito.
Today, Aupito made his first visit to the Ministry for Pacific Peoples to meet with staff and learn about the Ministry’s priorities and the work they do.
“It's been an exciting and an emotional journey for me and my family. Its been a long wait but we now have a new government, and this new change comes with a huge responsibility.”
Aupito urges the Ministry to work with him and enjoy the journey.
“I need your help to work with me.”
“We need to lift our game and I want our Pacific communities to have confidence in our work.”
“We have to hit the ground running as we both have a dual responsibility in serving our families and communities.”
Aupito also acknowledged his past; “My parents migrated to New Zealand when I was a child. I’m the eldest of nine brothers and sisters.”
“My parents were both hard workers, church-goers and one of many Pacific families that refer to Otara as home.”
“We had very little and my parents worked incredibly hard to provide us with a better life.”
“My father Aupito Pupu Sio has been a taxi driver in South Auckland since the closure of factories in the 1980s.”
“My mother Sene, bless her, was my biggest supporter before her soul was laid to rest.”
Aupito says his parents taught him the life skill lesson that hard work equates to success.
Aupito is looking forward to his new duties as the Minister for Pacific Peoples, serving the interests of Pacific communities in New Zealand.
He also holds associate roles in Courts and Justice, which are huge portfolios.
Prior to being a politician, Aupito served as a Manukau City Councillor from 2001 and in 2007, where he was appointed as Deputy Mayor of Manukau. He also served as a public servant and a trade unionist in both New Zealand and in the Pacific region.
Aupito is a strong and advocate for the rights of working-class New Zealanders and he adores South Auckland, especially Māngere - a place he calls the land of the young, beautiful and gifted.
He is very proud of his Samoan heritage, which is evident by way of the number of chiefly titles he holds.
His most recent chiefly title Aupito was bestowed in the village of Letaupe in the district of Lotofaga on the island of Upolu last year.
Aupito was raised as a Catholic on his father’s side, but also belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) on his mother’s side in the village of Satapuala.
His first engagement with the Ministry allows him to meet staff individually and learn about their roles.
He is ready to get the ball rolling.
Aupito has been the MP for Mangere since 2008.