Wellbeing in Gifted Pasifika


Aiono Manu Faaea-Semeatu

Practising ethnomusicologist and educator
New Zealand



Pasfica image


Malo le soifua ma le lagi e mama. 


My name is Aiono Manu Faaea-Semeatu. I have been involved in gifted Pasifika education for the past decade, both as a practitioner and in policy settings providing feedback for gifted Pasifika. The wellbeing of gifted people, both young and old, is critically important. In my experience, there are more challenges that gifted people face, because there is a public perception that they do not require support as they seem more than capable of being self-sufficient or independent.  Working with young gifted Pasifika people has resulted in trying to first of all help them navigate their way with the health or strength of their wellbeing in the worlds that they occupy. I believe that when gifted Pasifika people are comfortable in how they identify, whether it is by their ethnic backgrounds or a combination of social factors that contribute to their identity construction - E tumau le fa’avae ae fesuia’iga le faiga - the foundation remains, but the ways of doing things change - 


As much as possible, gifted Pasifika people engage in activities that help to look after their wellbeing.  In intergenerational settings, particularly since COVID-19 has been at the forefront, a number of practical strategies and tools have come to light:  


  1. Family activities – focus on one new family activity to record as a video, once a week and share on your social media platforms 
  2. Support group – there has been a rise of social groups online that share strategies and tips about wellbeing, particularly to address social isolation and social distancing
  3. Challenges – the physical exercise and arts related challenges on social media platforms have promoted a shared support system for people to participate in shared activities.


On a personal note, some of the practical strategies and tools that I have used to look after my wellbeing have included:


  1. Writing music blogs – as a musician, I love sharing about music and understanding the complexities of the elements of a song and what the lyrics say about it
  2. Creating, performing and recording – producing song requests on the piano for an online audience has been quite fulfilling in recent months, because it allows me to share my talent with people overseas who want to see more Pasifika hymns being performed
  3. Walking – getting out into my neighbourhood and soaking up the sun, while smiling to all the neighbours and families I wouldn’t have normally seen if I was stuck in an office!
  4. Self-care – taking time out to pamper myself and feel totally relaxed has done wonders for my wellbeing.  This can come in many forms, such as spending time socialising with really good friends and family or engaging in an activity that I know gives me peace of mind while in isolation.



When I think about how our gifted Pasifika people can connect well, particularly as we are now in the throes of the post-COVID reality, wellbeing is more important than ever.  Being able to touch base with individuals through messenger chats and socialising about shared beliefs system, particularly with the Black Lives Matter movement has been strongly felt by the Pasifika community. We can all have a healthy wellbeing, when we are focused on what we can do collectively in being well. 


About Aiono Manu Faaea-Semeatu

Manu is a practising ethnomusicologist and educator. Her teaching experience has been in secondary schools in Auckland with Music, Social Studies and English.  She is completing her PhD at the University of Auckland.





Posted as part of the 2020 New Zealand Gifted Awareness Blog Tour, run by the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education.

The views and opinions expressed in the Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tour are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of NZCGE, their staff, and/or any/all contributors to Gifted Awareness Week.

Wellbeing in Gifted Pasifika

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