(Picture caption: Annafinau Tukuitoga is the 2022 Prime Minister's Pacific Youth Awards Arts, Culture and Creativity category winner.)
Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards (PMPYA) recipient and New Zealand Country Music youth ambassador Annafinau Tukuitoga says her driving force is her nana Evo, whose gentle influence guides her as she navigates the creative world.
The Paeroa-based 18-year-old of Niuean and Fijian descent has a passion for music and inspiring young Pacific people.
In December, the budding creative claimed the Arts, Culture and Creativity category win at the 2022 PMPYA, which she says will support her dream of studying Commercial Music at Massey University in Wellington this year.
“My dream is to become a musical therapist for elderly people…specialising with dementia patients because my nana has dementia and my music has been heavily influenced by her over the years,” Annafinau says.
“She (nana Evo) drives me – she taught me many of the core values I have now, as well as to always be proud of who I am and where I come from.”
Winning a PMPYA means a lot to Annafinau and her family as it means she has proved many people wrong and defied many stereotypes, she adds.
“I’ve made my grandparents and ancestors proud, and I’ve achieved another milestone for our family name.”
Looking ahead, Annafinau says it is also her vision to inspire and encourage Pacific people to do different things.
“A little creativity goes a long way - if you put in hard work, you get rewarded.
“It is all about putting time in, in all the right places, even if you have to miss out on a few things here and there, you personally will know how hard you’ve worked to get to where you are.”
Visit the MPP website for more information on PMPYA.