As the world evolves rapidly around him and his peers, Ezekiel Fiso (pictured) has a vision of cultivating environments where Pacific youth feel safe to be themselves.
Of Samoan descent, the Porirua born and raised 21-year-old is the recipient of the Commercial and Corporate prize at the 2021 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards, staged online late last year.
Now in his third year of a Commerce degree at Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington, Ezekiel is spending his summer as an intern at consulting company, Deloitte New Zealand.
Supporting Pacific youth to thrive is a priority area for the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP), who has facilitated the PMPYA initiative since 2010.
The awards celebrate success, and rewards outstanding achievement by Pacific young people in Aotearoa – and Ezekiel was among the eight exceptional recipients for the 2021 PMPYA.
“The way I see the award is simply a combination of recognition and opportunity,” Ezekiel says.
“Recognising my efforts across an academic and business spectrum is a testament to the experiential learnings (both domestic and global) and relationships and I’ve been very lucky to have throughout my life: my parents, extended family, friends, teachers and colleagues.
Ezekiel also attributes much of his business success to the inspiring work of his uncle Fiso John Fiso (ONZM for services to sport, education, business and the Pacific community and recipient of many service awards), who has helped pave the way for Pacific and greater corporate industry.
Fiso is the Founder of the New Zealand Institute of Sport and New Zealand Fiso Investment Group and supports many businesses across the country.
“Ultimately, this award is an opportunity to grow as a person embracing my proud Pacific heritage and identity, to be amongst a leading global provider in consulting, financial advisory, tax and more,” Ezekiel says.
It is also a valuable tool in encouraging Pacific youth to gain experience in a corporate and professional setting, which otherwise might not be easily accessed coming out of tertiary education, he adds.
Ezekiel has had the good fortune of being exposed to diverse communities from a young age, attending Scots College and accepting numerous opportunities to serve, including the Head Prefect role.
While at Scots College, Headmaster Graeme Yule encouraged Ezekiel to have a sense of community and the student poured his energy into contributing to health initiatives in Porirua.
Ezekiel helped to secure funding from Capital and Coast District Health Board (CCDHB) for a project called 502, providing free primary healthcare and social services to Porirua youth aged between 10 and 24 years.
“It sounds rather cliché but I think the best way to serve our Pacific Aotearoa community is to invest as much as we can into our youth.”
Looking ahead, the ambitious young man says he aspires to assist in the development of the Pasifika strategy within Deloitte.
“Building from the fantastic work of the Pås Peau network, I aim to use my internship as an opportunity to provide a current insight.
“I have a big passion for Pacific excellence in the various nuances that they arise, and I hope I can be an ambassador for not just the award itself but for young men and women who aspire to grow.
“Equally, I will use my time at Deloitte to better equip myself with skills for professional development.”
Visit the MPP website for more information on the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards.