Four Pasifika women recognised at Women of Influence Awards

Lawyer and chat show host Tupe Solomon-Tanoa'i says she owes her success to her family after winning the Diversity Award at the Westpac New Zealand and Stuff Women of Influence awards.

Solomon-Tanoa'i won her award for helping finance projects in criminal justice and family law research.

She was one of four Pasifika women who won awards: Luamanuvao Dame Winne Laban was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, ​choreographer Parris Goebel was honoured with an Arts and Culture Award​, and Aorere College head girl Aigagalefili Fepulea'i Tapua'i won the Young Leader's Award.​

PMN News reports Solomon-Tanoa'i ​is the writer and creator of independent web series Misadventures of a Pacific Professional and also hosts a chat show, Talanoa with Tupe, which aims to showcase successful Pasifika, especially women.

She says she wouldn't be where she is without her family support.

"It's really been the result of generations of sacrifice, so I wouldn't be where I am today without my family and I'm so happy right now that I have a balance between my day job and my side hustle, which is about expressing my creativity. 

"As a people, I think we're achieving amazing things and I think that was reflected last night by the fact that four of the winners were Pasifika."

Choreographer Parris Goebel won her award for her work in the global entertainment business.

Goebel has worked with artists including Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Janet Jackson and Jennifer Lopez.

In 2018, she established The Palace Academy of Dance for Maori and Pasifika teenagers and she is a co-founder of Sisters United NZ, a charitable trust aiming to empower young Maori and Pasifika.

18-year-old climate activist and poet ​Aigagalefili Fepulea'i Tapua'i chairs 4 Tha Kulture, an indigenous South Auckland youth environmentalist collective which co-organised the largest and most recent School Strike for Climate.

An advocate for low socio-economic and South Auckland youth, Fepulea'i Tapua'i worked with the School March Against Violence and aims to uplift marginalised youth in her community.

Finally, Victoria University's Luamanuvao Dame Winne Laban was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Luamanuvao was the first Pacific Island woman elected to the New Zealand Parliament, holding the portfolios of Pacific Island Affairs and Community and Voluntary Sector and the associate roles of Social Development and Economic Development and Trade.

She took on the role as Associate Vice Chancellor Pasifika at Victoria University in 2010.