Saturday, April 21, 2007
MELISSA LELO: TUWAWA YOUTH OF THE MONTH NOVEMBER 2006
Bula Vinaka! Na yacaqu ko Melissa Lelo. I was born in Suva, Fiji. I grew up there and went to Yat Sen Primary School till our family moved to Auckland, NZ in 1988.
My family consists of my mum (Marian), dad (Herbert) and younger sister (Brianna). I completed all my secondary and tertiary education in Auckland. I have a Bachelor in Maori Studies, majoring in youth development and postgraduate diploma in Public Health. I enjoy playing most sports but particularly like indoor netball and touch rugby. I have strong determination in succeeding in anything I set my mind on.
My connections to Fiji is noted here below:
On my mothers side:
Mataqali in Gau is called the Takalai-gau
Yavusa is Buraia
Village is Na Korolevu (Sawaieke)
Province : Lomaiviti
On my fathers side:
My grandmother's is related to Tui Namosi
Danfords - Raiwaqa (na koro makawa)
Village in Navua
I have been away from Fiji for 19 years. I travel back to Fiji to visit family every couple of years or so and continue both personal/social and professional links with the Fijian Community both in Auckland and around NZ.
I work as a Health Promotion Advisor, ProCare Network Auckland. (One of NZ's largest - primary health organizations (PHO) www.procare.co.nz
My work involves assisting our people to improve their health and well-being as Pacific people in the Auckland region through good nutrition and regular physical activity.
I am also a committee member of the Action for Children Youth Aotearoa - promoting the well being of children and youth in Aotearoa. Also focusing on UN Convention on the rights of the child. (UNCROC). (www.acya.org.nz). Recently I am the Fijian rep on Pacific Island Advisory Board for Auckland City Council (www.aucklandcity.govt.nz). I am also the branch committee member of theNZ Association for Adolescent Health and Development (NZAAHD) Auckland (www.nzaahd.org.nz) and member of the World Youth alumni (www.swynz.org.nz) and the Fijian youth leadership project (Auckland Fijian Community) www.aucklandfiji.org.nz
I aim to be a recognized leader in my chosen career path. (Areas of interest: health, youth, Pacific, policy) and aim to be able to speak Fijian and have a better understanding of my family history. I would love to travel around Fiji as well as the rest of the world.
My role model is any woman who is independent, intelligent, knows their 'stuff' and is willing to share their knowledge. In particular, one who knows whom they are, where they come from, and has strong family values.
Other achievement in life that I would like to share is I am the first in my family (on my dads side) to attend university and get a degree. (Bachelor in Maori Studies, majoring in youth development). I was also selected to represent NZ on the Ship for World Youth. This was a youth leadership program with 12 other countries from around the world sponsored by the Japanese government. It was a very memorable experience, full of new learning's. Check out www.swynz.co.nz for more details and upcoming selections.
My advice to youths who are reading my profile is to:
Be proud of your heritage and culture. Learn all you can from the older generation because you in turn will hold your family history, which will strengthen who you are as a person.
You don't have to be smart but be curious in seeking answers to the unknown. It's your journey that is the most important lesson not necessarily the end result.
Celebrate being young, especially being a young Fijian person living in NZ!