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Port of Auckland’s new Pasifika role a “milestone”

​Port of Auckland has committed to boosting support for its Pasifika staff with the creation of a  new position.      ​

For the first time in the company's 175 year history, the port has appointed a Pasifika Outcomes manager. Vanessa Wolfgramm has stepped into the role and will help develop career pathways and leadership progression for the port's Pasifika staff, who make up 30 percent of the work force.

Vanessa, who has been working at the port for five years, says her focus will be on how to best serve Pasifika staff. In April, she facilitated the first  Pasifika Strategy talanoa which was well received.  

"We had representation from all the business areas and different roles from lashers, straddle drivers and crane operators to corporate and operations. It was a fantastic launchpad for what is going to be a really exciting time."

Vanessa has been actively involved with the port's te ao Māori journey participating in the kapa haka group, is a member of the port's Māori leadership group, takes part in whakatau for new staff and is enrolled in the port's on-site te reo Māori lessons.   

"The foundation work done by the Māori leadership group and Māori strategy framework have paved the way for this role," she says. "Now we have got to the stage of being able to branch out to our Pasifika staff."

Paul White, Māori Outcomes manager, who joined the port 23 years ago, says he has seen a remarkable turnaround in port culture over the past two years. Vanessa's new position is a "major milestone", he says.  

"A few years ago it would have been hard to imagine what we have now. The port has embarked on a cultural journey which has benefited our staff's wellbeing," he says.  "We are living in a different world."

Vanessa and Paul will work closely and support one another in improving career progressions for Pasifika and Māori port workers.

"What Māori and tangata Pasifika culture have in common is we all manaaki and tautoko each other in our mahi and what we are striving for," says Paul. "It is like a marae and it's important  Māori and Pasifika outcomes work together and advance the kaupapa for each. That's our strength."