There is hope that a conference aimed at empowering young Pacific men to build a better future will roll out nationwide.
After five years of running Young Free and Pasifika for young Pacific women, organisers Affirming Works wanted to provide the same platform for young Pacific men.
Young Free Warriors gathered student representatives from six schools across the region at the Māngere Arts Centre for a full day of discussions and creative workshops.
Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio delivered a keynote speech, sharing personal experiences that have led to his current position of leadership in Government.
Guest speakers Malcolm Andrews, Ken Vaega and Joshua Tesimale gave inspiring testimonies, encouraging students to believe, be bold and be brave.
Young Free Warriors. Photo/ PMN.
Project manager Nastassia Wolfgramme says empowering young people with Pacific values, identity and culture will in turn translate to change within the community.
"It's all about drawing out the leadership in our young people. We need strong leaders, strong brothers, father figures to protect, to lead our children and our families," she says.
"It's such a powerful message for these young men to come and see. When we have young men impart wisdom, knowledge and strength, that they've overcome hardships so they can too."
Affirming Works is hoping to branch out the programme to other parts of the country.
Wolfgramme says she hopes to see the conference roll out every year as well.
Nastassia Wolfgramme. Photo/ PMN.