(Picture caption: Eunique Ikiua is awarded the Language, Culture and Identity award at the 2022 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards by Hon Grant Robertson, Hon Aupito William Sio and Tuaopepe Abba Fidow.)
Eunique Ikiua has a busy but rewarding schedule this year.
After her success as the Language, Culture and Identity winner at the 2022 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards (PMPYA), she is now set for a new role in the public sector and releasing new music as a hip New Zealand-Niue hip hop artist.
Eunique was one of nine Pacific young people winners who demonstrated how they have created a positive impact on their chosen field in recent years.
The winners were recognised at a formal event in Wellington during November last year.
As a 23-year-old of Niuean heritage, Eunique is one of very few Pacific people striving to effect change in the technology industry.
This year alone, she has presented to more than 3000 Māori and Pacific students through panels, workshops, and education events, particularly in west Auckland.
Although she has worked in the technology industry in a relationship-building and tech-sales capacity, Eunique has high hopes to build her skill set with a software development or information technology qualification.
Her career pathway is looking very bright indeed, after she accepted a new role at Microsoft ANZ as a public sector account executive for health.
In this new role, Eunique will lead digital transformations for Microsoft’s biggest health customers across Aotearoa.
“I will also be pursuing an online postgraduate qualification in information technology to build software development skills that will support my community projects and language preservation efforts for Vagahau Niue, Kuki Airani and Gagana Tokelau,” Eunique says.
Her career aspirations don’t end there.
Eunique is also actively releasing bilingual music that is being played across more than 100 countries, spinning on Niu FM and Mai FM.
She will be an opening act for American rapper Yung Gravy at this year’s orientation week at Otago University and performing at numerous festivals across Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific.
Eunique grew up in Mangere before moving to the nearby suburb of Manurewa in her final years of high school with her mother – who is a Vagahau Niue teacher at Alfriston College.
Eunique went on to study at Otago University and graduated in 2021 with a joint degree in commerce and arts, specialising in economics, politics and finance.
“I would like to spend the next three to five years carving out my career in Big Tech particularly in the Public Sector side of the business,” she says.
“On top of securing a senior management position, I would like to build the capability of Pasifika entering the Tech space, Pacific social enterprises and Pacific organisations that drive economic development across the Pacific.
“I have plans of launching tech entrepreneurship projects in the near future but would first like to gain industry experience and build my up professional network.
“Simultaneously, I hope to release more Vagahau Niue music into mainstream Pacific media and will continue piloting innovative projects for the Three Star Nation Vagahau Niue and Agafakamotu strategy 2027.”
Eunique adds her long-term goal is to leverage all of these experiences in technology, entertainment and the wider Pacific community into a career as a public servant – as an elected member of parliament.
Meanwhile, winning the PMPYA award has been a stepping block towards reclaiming Niue culture and championing Vagahau Niue in everyday life.
“Whether that is through creative outlets such as bilingual music, community leadership in Niue youth groups such as Three Star Nation, or flying the Pasifika flag high in industries where Pacific peoples are severely under-represented, such as the tech industry,” she says.
“I stand tall on the shoulder of giants.
“As such, this award is the highest honour and an emotional recognition of my late migrant grandparents Hanofu and Evening Ikiua and all those who came before me.
“My grandparents migrated from the rock of Polynesia in the 1960s and raised me in their humble Mangere home.
“Without their sacrifices, hopes and dreams, prayers and endless love and support, I would not have been able to realise their dreams of milk and honey, dreams I now live today.”
Visit the MPP website for more information about PMPYA.