Fuatino (or Tino as she’s fondly called), is a connector. And as someone who has been with The Mind Lab and Tech Futures Lab from the very early days, she is also well connected to nearly all parts of the two organisations.
Born in Aotearoa New Zealand of Samoan (Saleaula, Asau, Auala, Elise Fou), Tokelau (Atafu), Tuvalu (Funafuti) descent, Fuatino has been reconnecting with her heritage and in doing so, is helping us all to come on the journey too. Incredibly important to her is her faith and teamed with a clear sense of pacific identity, Fuatino is a strong yet humble person.
Not part of her official role but something Fuatino loves to get involved with is education and awareness to foster deeper understanding and appreciation of the rich cultures spread around the Pacific. She regularly champions staff events and learning experiences aligned to pacific culture celebrations such as the many language weeks held throughout the year.
Core to The Mind Lab and Tech Futures Lab is our teaching and learning strategy ‘Te Ara Kōtihi’ (the pathway to success), which puts our learners at the heart of everything we do. A huge focus is therefore to connect with all the diverse learners we welcome into learning with The Mind Lab and Tech Futures Lab and this is where Fuatino’s guidance on pacific culture is invaluable.
If there was one person in history Fuatino could meet, it would be Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III - who through his non violent resistance to colonial rule laid the foundations for Samoa’s Mau movement which ultimately led to the nation’s independence in 1962. A true Samoan hero reflective of the importance of not just holding on but holding up one’s own cultural identity.
In her role today and leading the Student Experience Team, Fuatino focuses on the learners. She considers a student’s experience from the very first interaction with us through to their very important graduation milestone and on to their relationship as alumni. To deliver this, Fuatino relies on those staff and student connections and the deep experience she has across the two organisations.
When Fuatino’s not at work she can often be found spending time following the NRL with her family - supporting the Warriors of course - or working on her uppercut at local gym.