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On the very odd occasion, it might involve a dash to Costco for sushi and sandwiches or even an AA call-out on the motorway. Nonetheless, the delivery of Careerforce’s Talanoa study hubs is a team effort, bringing together Pasifika ākonga (learners) so they can connect with others in their area and receive tailored learning support from the Careerforce Pasifika team.

The first Talanoa launched in 2018 to support Pasifika apprentices in the Auckland region. Since then, the initiative has grown to a national scale, extending out to the regions and to our Pasifika ākonga of all levels – from those enrolled in a Level 2 certificate up to the Level 5 business diploma.

Talanoa connect Pasifika learners on the same journey

Rusila Vola sits with Careerforce Pacific Lead Laloifi Ripley during a Christchurch Talanoa study hub

“It’s about connecting with other Pasifika ākonga on the same journey. We learn about each other and from each other,” says Careerforce Pacific Lead, Laloifi Ripley. “It’s also an opportunity for Careerforce to listen to our learners and find out what support they need from us, then provide it.”

The Careerforce Talanoa study hubs are an opportunity to receive one-to-one support from Careerforce’s Pasifika team, including Learning Engagement Advisors, Workplace Advisors and Apprenticeship Advisors. It’s this collaborative effort that contributes to their success.

“A successful Talanoa study hub is when ākonga feel connected, they share contact details with each other, they laugh, hug, have something to eat and leave with smiles on their face because they now know what to do, have worked on a unit standard, completed a unit standard ready for submission and found their way through talanoa (sharing of ideas and conversation),” Laloifi says.

One Fijian graduate, Rusila Vola, said the Talanoa study hubs were the push she needed to complete her Health and Wellbeing Level 3. Rusila made it a priority to attend Careerforce’s first two Christchurch sessions. She even secured a babysitter for the day and arrived at the venue tired after working the night shift at Christchurch’s Bellevue Retirement Village.

“It’s such a terrific idea to hold these sessions because we can openly talk with folks from Careerforce about some of the challenges we face while attempting to finish our levels,” Rusila says.

“The staff are quite approachable and generous. They respond in such a positive way that most of us really feel motivated to finish our programmes quickly. I believe it has to do with our Pasifika identity – we just need a little push, and there we are!”

A Careerforce Pasifika team effort

Some of the Pasifika team being rescued on the motorway after a talanoa in Hamilton

With the half-day study hubs averaging ten times a year, the Pasifika team enjoy traveling to meet with ākonga, even when things can go slightly awry.

“When we were heading back from a Hamilton Talanoa last year, one of the tyres on our car had a blowout on the Waikato Expressway, and the AA had to come rescue us,” says Careerforce Pacific Coordinator, Miriama Fetu. “Sometimes we go to great lengths to see our Pasifika learners,” she laughs.

Catering is provided at each Talanoa, which is a bonus, and the team has recently discovered how good the options are at Costco. “One time, we got Korelli (Learning Engagement Advisor) to stop in at Costco in Auckland and grab platters of club sandwiches, sushi, muffins, and hot cross buns. He was super stoked with himself because it was a real bargain and it tasted good,” says Laloifi.

The Talanoa study hubs are just one part of the wider strategy to support equitable learner success. A key focus for Careerforce is to respect the unique differences, learning practices and challenges of Māori, Pasifika and disabled learners, and invest in appropriate supports, to achieve equitable outcomes.

More information

The next Talanoa study hubs are scheduled for Tauranga, Hamilton and South Auckland in May and any Pasifika learner enrolled in a Careerforce programme can sign up online to attend.

Careerforce is a business division of Te Pūkenga. To find out more about Careerforce’s Pasifika learner support and to sign up to a Talanoa study hub, head to

See our Equitable Learner Success page to learn about how we support our Māori, Pasifika and disabled ākonga.