Empowered Pasifika Women: Petrina Wilkinson

No matter where we are in the world, our teachers are under appreciated. There is so much that our teacher sacrifice for their students whether it be their own money, time, etc. That is why I’m very honored to help share Petrina Wilkinson’s story.

Empowered Through Teaching

I am an afakasi (Samoan/New Zealander) who lives in Christchurch. I am a teacher and leader within our school community with a focus on cultural responsiveness. My Mum is Samoan and always inspires us to do the best we can.

What was the spark that started you on the path where you are today?

Having a Palagi teacher tell me that I was going to do great things for my pasifika people and to be someone who I would have looked up to as a kid.

What is one thing that you think Pasifika can do to help our voices be heard more?

Being assertive and not being sucked into the stereotypes we so often use to get out of problems. Coming together as a community rather than in competition.

If a young Pasifika girl asked you, “Why is it important to empower other Pasifika women?” What would you tell her?

I would tell her; there is no one like you. No one can bring the passion, dedication and service we do. We are natural born in leaders who lead with poise and grace. We need to stand together and have our voices heard.

As a Pasifika leader, creative, advocate, etc. how do you find ways to uplift the voices of other Pasifika women?

Supporting ideas and initiatives. Lending my ear to their ideas and being a loud or quiet cheerleader. I try and lead by example.

Who is it that you look to as a role model?

My mum. Cliche as that is: 100% am the woman I am today because of her.

Where do you think the Pasifika community falls short when it comes to empowering our women? If we do at all.

Lots of our men get seen before we do. They get more recognition for what they do. We are too humble and blend into the background.

What song do you listen to that empowers you to keep going?

Ahh too many!

What movie brings you inspiration?

The Blindside

What is a quote that you go to when needing encouragement?

Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.

What is your advice to Pasifika women who are on the journey to empowerment?

Be loud and proud. We are made of our ancestors. Strong pasifika women who came before us. The only way is up.

I want to thank Petrina for sharing her story. As someone who also teaches, I know how much work and heart and soul goes into you. What you do is very admirable. Thank you for all that you do to teach our future and uplift our voices!


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