Fakaalofa lahi atu! I’m Marina Vaha. Born in Auckland, NZ but nurtured and raised from a small coral place called Niue Island. It’s the largest coral Island in the Pacific. I migrated to NZ when I was a teenager and finished my school years at Otago Girls in Dunedin, before migrated to Auckland during my early 20’s and I have lived in Auckland since then.
I have 4 beautiful and courageous children, born and nurtured in Auckland. To date, three of my children are at Whangaparaoa College and one is at Whangaparaoa Primary. They love their college; they enjoy their learning, their teachers and friends, most importantly, they see the college as their village!
We migrated to this beautiful, breath-taking, quiet, peaceful and safe community 6 years ago. This community reminds me of my village in a modernised island, where the beach is at your doorstep, the people are so caring, friendly and helpful; most importantly, the college is walking distance from home.
My professional background is in Early Childhood Education. I’m a qualified and registered ECE teacher. I’m currently working for my small ECE service and a company based at Mangere. I’m a servant to small Pasifika and non-Pasifika communities around Auckland. My purpose now is to create and develop employment opportunities for my Pacific communities and low-socio economic families, who are struggling to make ends meet, but are willing to do anything to survive for the benefits of their children and the next generations ahead. My small ECE service and company runs in parallel with the small community Charitable Trust that I established to promote, maintain and support our Pasifika and individual heritage languages and cultures through family and community focused activities. The Trust was established so that we can continue to connect with our Pacific families who are scattered around the big City of Sails.
I have been in this education sector for 20 years; I had my children while I was teaching in ECE. I have worked in various non-Pasifika and Pasifika ECE services, from private owned to community, family focused ECE services/networks, I have worked in centre based to home-based settings. I loved my ECE! Even though society perceives ECE as an undervalued and underpaid profession, the joy of teaching, observing, growing, developing and learning with the children at early years, I consider as priceless and very rewarding; it’s a blessing. I love my profession. It is the foundation of all early learning of a young child and it shapes his or her life for further learning.
Students are still children, they are our heartbeat, the oxygen that we breathe. Our students still need us to hold their hands, they need us to get down to their level and talk with them (not at them), using their language. Our students need us to understand and guide them through their preferences or choices. Our students are individuals, they have their own special identity, they have their own culture. They thrive in education when we are always available for them; our students will thrive and achieve when we listen to their voices, when we can negotiate, facilitate, understand and guide them through their school and education journey.
Whangaparaoa College is a village on its own, which strives to provide the best education for our children, and student’s learning starts at home, home is where it matters, home lies within a village!