"The Pasifika Education Centre is the the oldest Pacific community education provider in New Zealand."
The Past – Our Roots
In 1974, the idea for setting up an educational institute to cater for the needs of an increasing Pacific Island population was first mooted at a conference called by the Minister of Education Honourable Phil Amos at Lopdell House.
Around this time 78, 000 Pacific Islanders resided in New Zealand. An Auckland star special report on Pacific Island issues in the country and in the Pacific Islands at the time described a Pacific community struggling to cope with the reality of living in New Zealand.
“Many came with the notion that Auckland’s streets were paved with gold. For almost all of them it was their first trip from their home island, for most they were coming to their first job. Western Samoa figures showed that 73% of those that come here have never worked before, other than at home or on the family planation. They have touching, simple confidence… they think they know all about New Zealand.”
“The Government began to show qualified awareness those policies to deal with the situation needed to be devised.”
In 1976, the outcome of talks resulted in the appointment of a Director and staff for a resource centre.
Two years later in 1978, the resource centre located at the old Bayfield Primary School was ready for operation and was officially opened on the 9th of September. The Auckland Star article recounts the plans.
“The old Bayfield Primary School will be used as an education resource centre with tapes, films, books, magazines, anything that might help new arrivals and the New Zealand public. Orientation tutors will work in the schools and industries.”
By the early 80’s, PIERC established a branch in Mangere at the Nga Taupwae Community College campus in response to the growing needs of the South Auckland area.
The Pasifika community were proud; this was their meeting place. There were Settlement Programmes, ESOL training, Language and Cultural Training and resources – there was good growth and everyone was a winner.
In 1993, the organisation renamed itself as PIERC Education and relocated to Otahuhu. As PTE, its vision was to become a Pacific polytechnic delivering a wide range of courses.
By the late 90’s education reforms and strong competition prompted a review of PIERC’s position and its role in the education sector. What eventuated form these discussions were a call for PIERC to get back to its roots.
Today – Going Back
It’s over forty years since the idea of the Pacific Islanders Education Resource Centre was conceived. There are nearly 250,000 Pacific people living in New Zealand. The population is young and over 60% were born in New Zealand. The confidence of Pacific people is booming and we have proven ourselves on sporting and artistic platforms – the All Blacks have had their first Pacific captain in Tana Umaga; Valerie Adams and Beatrice Faumuina have represented New Zealand at the Olympics. The hottest acts on the music charts are PI’s. Turn on the TV and there are advertisements with beautiful Pacific faces acknowledging the commercial significance of Pacific people as consumers.
1974: The idea was mooted for an educational institute to cater for the increasing Pacific Island population. At that time, 78,000 Pacific Islanders lived in New Zealand.
1978: The Pacific Islanders Education Resource Centre (PIERC) opened in Herne Bay.
Early 1980s: Due to growing needs in South Auckland a branch was opened in Mangere.
1993: PIERC renamed to PIERC Education and relocated to Atkinson Ave in Otahuhu.
2004:PIERC becomes Pasifika Education Centre (PEC) and moves to the Pacific Business Trust Centre, Great South Road, Otahuhu.
2010: PEC relocates to Lambie Drive in Manukau.