Improving the narrative for Pacific Aotearoa
(Picture caption: The Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Digital Channels and Marketing Manager Koula Kutu aspires to ensure the right information is communicated to Pacific people in New Zealand to support them and help them to grow.)
At a young age, Koula Kutu’s parents taught her to work hard but more importantly to be kind and give without expecting anything in return.
Born in New Zealand and of Tongan descent, Koula injects this work ethic to her role as the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Digital Channels and Marketing Manager.
After joining the Ministry a year ago, Koula now leads this space as part of the growing Communications team.
“I connect people and communities through digital channels and marketing - driving engagement to tell the story for our Pacific peoples,” Koula says.
“Those stories are told through dance, poetry, weaving, motifs, markings, paintings, costumes, masks, war clubs, pendants, traditional ceremonies, and food preparation among other things.”
Koula completed her schooling in Christchurch and attended the University of Canterbury, from which she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications.
Following University she went to the New Zealand Radio Training School and completed a Diploma in Broadcasting and Radio.
Over the past year working at MPP, Koula says she has faced many challenges and grown professionally to where she can step into the Manager’s role with confidence.
“The COVID-19 lockdown was a challenging time but also as our Communications team were under the pump delivering key messages for our Pacific communities as well as our usual work with the language weeks being launched and hosted on digital channels for the first time,” Koula explains.
It was a time to grow, she adds.
“I learnt so much in the last six months about myself and the importance of communication on digital channels.
“Being part of the Ministry, we were able to change the way we were communicating and take the reigns of the digital space."
Just prior to the nation-wide lockdown earlier in the year, Koula flew to Auckland to look after her elderly parents to make sure they were supported throughout the lockdown period.
“Everything about COVID-19 was new to my parents and for many other Pacific communities across the country.
"In my role at MPP I was in a privileged position to disseminate information to church members regarding COVID-19 and help those who needed support packages using various media channels.
“It was a challenging time for our Pacific communities however, being able to help translate key information from All of Government into nine Pacific languages was gold for our communities.”
Seeing Pacific people in the firing line of the pandemic, and in various other scenario has given Koula clarity about what it is she wants to achieve in her role at MPP.
“I want to champion and advocate for our Pacific peoples and make sure we communicate the right information on a variety of platforms to support our Pacific peoples to grow in Aotearoa.
“My aspirations for Pacific Aotearoa are to strengthen the narrative for our Pacific people in Aotearoa and give Pacific peoples the platform and support they deserve.
“It is up to all of us to work together to lift the individual incomes and the family outcomes.”
Working at MPP means Koula gets to share her passion for the community and love for her culture, as everyone still strives together for a better outcome and opportunities for our Pacific peoples in Aotearoa.
Remembering her “why” keeps her accountable and motivated when working towards a better future, because she loves people, she adds.
“I value our Pacific stories, and I find delight in sharing our community’s stories.”
Work for us
The Ministry for Pacific Peoples is currently seeking a Senior Advisor Strategic Communications and External Relations.
As Senior Advisor Communications working with the Minister’s Office in Wellington, you will provide high-touch communication support, both externally and internally.
All of our current vacancies are on the MPP job website, be sure to keep an eye out as our team will be growing over the coming months.
If you, or someone you know is interested in working at MPP – reach out to us at [email protected].