Brierlee Hokum

Management student Brirelee Hokum is driven to inspire and lead other young people from a Pasifika background. 

The former Melville High School student - now 18 - worked with friends and teachers to take a small performing arts group at Melville High School and grow it  into something much more. 

"We saw the potential students had. We had a vision that we wanted to create a strong foundation for a Pasifika performing arts group at our school, we wanted our group to form a Pasifika bond, a lot like a family orientated culture within the group."

Her contribution was acknowledged when she completed Year 13 in 2014, including awards for service in Paskifika, service as a Polynesian group leader and the Margaret Comer Trophy for leadership in Pasifika. 

Even after leaving school, she has continued to help the group, who participated in the Pasifika by Nature competition in May, finishing in fifth place.

Hokum is now studying management at WINTEC and enjoying the new challenges tertiary study brings, as well as balancing this with working for the Chiefs in customer service. She has a passion for rugby and hopes to combine this with her management skills to help young Pasifika players be successful. 

Hokum says her family have been a key support in her achievements so far. They have helped and encouraged her to push forward and succeed and in turn, she is aiming to continue this to make them proud. 

"My family encourages me to be successful, and not only to make a name for myself but also for my family and to represent my culture with pride."

She hopes she can inspire other young Pasifika people to aim high and succeed, and also create a more positive perception of them in the community.

Her hope is that young Pasifika people will stay positive and look up to role models in their community, and be proud of themselves and culture.  

Her advice to other young Pasifika people is in the form of a Samoan proverb "E lele le toloa ae ma'au I le vai" ("The toloa bird will fly far but will always return back to the water.")

Hokum says this relates well to young people: "My interpretation of it is that no matter how far you go in life, you'll always be proud to return back home."​
Page reviewed: 19 Jun 2015 1:28pm