Twenty-five-year-old Arizona Leger is a young Pacific/Maori woman who describes herself as a “proud daughter of Oceania.” With a Samoan/Tongan/Fijian father and a Maori/Pakeha mother, Arizona says being a strong woman in 2021 is cause for celebration.
“I love the growing opportunities for our women to excel in so many different areas that our ancestors were never allowed to excel in. I love watching this evolution as women break down barriers and break through the glass ceiling. I love the space where we can truly show how strong we are and that we can lead with love and absolute intellect. “
Powerful words from the young leader who is in her final year of her master’s degree in human rights. Her studies dedicated to the advocacy for young indigenous women.
“What I love about being a woman is that we have proven that when we are empowered, our economies grow, and our communities prosper. They will continue to grow and prosper as long as we let more women sit at the table to make decisions and lead the way.”
Arizona will celebrate International Woman’s Day by being part of Wave of the Moana, a virtual talanoa alongside other young Pacific women leaders, facilitated by the Pasifika Medical Association and supported by Pacific Media Network.
The Moana Pacific Women’s Network, established by the Pasifika Medical Association was founded with the purpose to celebrate, connect and empower emerging and established Pacific Women Leaders.
“Pacific women of all diversities, bring brilliance, beauty and bravery to our families and communities. I feel proud to be part of a sisterhood who are so amazing, multi-talented, passionate and capable,” says Debbie Sorensen CEO of the Pasifika Medical Association Group.
This year, a virtual talanoa will hear stories from young role models talking about their aspirations and challenges as well as encouraging other Pacific women, especially during this time of great uncertainty with Covid-19.
Arizona’s achievements inspire the vision of Moana Pacific Womens Network which is ‘Pacific Women Making a Difference in the World’. In 2018, she was appointed to the Ministerial Advisory Group to review the NCEA programme and in 2019 she was selected from thousands to attend the G(irls)20 Summit in Tokyo and is the northern representative for the youth steering group for New Zealand’s Ministry for Pacific Peoples.
She is inspired by the principles handed down by her parents.
“My parents have raised me to be grateful for the opportunities that I have been given. One thing that they have been very clear about, especially in the leadership space, is to utilise those opportunities to ensure that the spaces are forced open to focus on the voices that we don’t hear from. It’s a lifetime responsibility.”
Arizona has been named as a semi-finalist in the 2021 Young New Zealander of the Year awards. She appreciated the nomination but says there are many more young leaders who are just as deserving.
“The true responsibility of being a child of the village is that you serve a cause bigger than yourself. There are so many young people that serve causes bigger than themselves that deserve to be acknowledged.
Wave of the Moana is an inclusive talanoa for everyone celebrating International Women’s day with a focus on young Pacific women. Supported by Pacific Media Network, the event will be live streamed across 531pi, NIUFM and the Pacific Language programmes.
What: Wave of the Moana
When: Monday 8 March, 5pm – 6pm
Where: Virtual Event Livestreamed through the Pasifika Medical Association Group Facebook page and Pacific Media Network digital platforms.