Empower Pasifika educators, learners and communities to thrive in Australian society.
The Australian Pasifika Educators Network was established to map and build an action plan for Pasifika education in Australia based on themes from the inaugural Pasifika Educators Conference Australia in 2021.
Over 180 educators tuned in from across Australia, New Zealand and neighbouring Pacific Island countries, representing education from early childhood education, tertiary institutions, community organisations and government departments. The conference enabled delegates to share innovative, effective, and culturally responsive best practices in education for Pacific learners, create and sustain professional connections, networks and development opportunities and start an Australian collective dialogue to design a blueprint for action to address Pasifika educational outcomes in Australia. The overwhelmingly positive feedback demonstrated a massive gap in forums for Pasifika educators and education communities more broadly in Australia. Four broad themes emerged from the conference and underpin APEN’s strategic direction and guide our advocacy and work to create the blueprint for an Australian Pasifika education action plan.
We are a national volunteer-led community organisation. We are teachers, school executives, university academic and professional staff, community educators and advocates dedicated to advancing the educational experiences, opportunities and positive outcomes for Pasifika learners and communities. Our vision is to see Pasifika educators, learners and communities thrive in Australian society by amplifying their perspectives, advocating for systemic change and celebrating our excellence. Our approach to doing this is to better understand the experiences of Australian Pasifika learners and educators through talanoa, consultation and research that can inform culturally responsive policy and best practices to support Pasifika educators, learners and our broader community and facilitate opportunities to connect, support and celebrate Pasifika educators, learners and communities.
While we acknowledge that all Pacific heritages and ethnicities hold their own unique politics, language, histories, and cultural practices, underscoring the significance of recognising the heterogeneity within it, as a network, for our work, we have chosen to define ‘Pasifika’ as peoples and communities who are genealogically, spiritually and culturally connected to the lands, the skies and the seas of the Pacific region (including Aotearoa New Zealand), and who have chosen to settle in and call Australia home.
We recognise the diversity of work undertaken by various organisations and community groups across Australia to promote and support Pasifika success at all levels of education. We welcome members and partnerships that share our common values and goals to see Pasifika people thrive in Australian society and align our strategies and advocacy with the Multicultural Access and Equity Policy, which is ‘about ensuring that Australian Government programs and services meet the needs of all Australians, regardless of their cultural and linguistic backgrounds’.
Emergent conference themes
These four broad themes underpin APEN's strategic direction and will provide the blueprint for the Pasifika education action plan in Australia.
Creating and sustaining spaces for Pasifika community engagement and connections, that enable innovation, ideas, and action.
Supporting Pasifika learner well-being, through learner-centred, strength-based approaches, that strengthens language and identity.
Curriculum and educational policy reform that includes equity, culturally responsive and culturally sustaining pedagogy.
Removing structural and systemic barriers to educational access, participation, and success for Pasifika learners.
APEN's target group are educators currently living in Australia who identify as having Pacific Islander or Māori heritage.
Membership is also open to non-Pasifika educators who are committed to supporting and learning from and with Pasifika educators, learners and communities
APEN values a diversity of perspectives working together toward a common goal.