Serena Curtis, General Manager, Pacific and Community Capability Programmes, Ministry of Social Development was a 2020 fellow recipient.

Serena believes Public Service leaders have a key role in the Pacific village in Aotearoa. In her fellowship report she analyses the partnership response between government and Pacific communities through COVID-19, which prevented further hardship. Pacific and government achieved great outcomes because government listened, trusted and changed its practices, and it was led by Pacific peoples. She also explains what it means to be Pacific – their values and strengths and how the system can misunderstand and cause ongoing disadvantage.

In this paper she offers case studies, practical actions leaders can take as well as recommendations to lift Pacific intergenerational wellbeing.

Reflecting on the fellowship Serena says “I was able to explore and bring together my passions - Pacific and communities, both of which have played a huge part of who I am today. It also allowed me to share my lived experience as a woman of Pacific, Māori and European heritage and the challenges of being defined as part of deficit narratives, to flip this narrative and focus on the strengths of my people. To have this ability to produce something that might make a difference for my people, family and community is very important to me.”

Leadership in our Aotearoa Pacific village: practicing values and unlocking strengths [PDF, 433 KB]