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How Pasifika Tech Careers Help Our Communities.

Talofa reader,


I know this should be really obvious, but maybe it hasn't been made that clear what the value proposition is for thinking about working in tech.

by Ron Amosa  I    26th February 2024


Value proposition just means "what the hell do I get out of this?"

To be clear, the tech industry I’m talking about is Software Development, Cyber Security, Cloud Infrastructure Technology and Artificial Intelligence- all Engineering disciplines.

If you've followed any of my writing for some time, you'll know I'm quite a cynical person, so the first thing I can always see straight off the bat is what's wrong with something.

The problem with this is, it often leaves everything that's right about something, out of the picture.

Let's focus on what's "right" about tech for Pasifika and the reasons I push for more Pasifika in tech as a solution for us going forward.

What are Pasifika Challenges?

The first question we should probably ask is, what problems do we have to solve in the Pasifika community, and does tech even address those?

There's no point in having a solution first that starts looking for a problem to solve.
An analytical paper from the NZ Treasury titled "Pacific Peoples Wellbeing" was released in 2023 and can help us look at the top challenges as backed by the stats that have been collected on Pacific Peoples.

So what did the paper see as Pasifika’s biggest challenges?

Educational Achievement and Participation

The paper says 

“While educational achievement and participation rates by Pacific peoples have improved in almost all areas, these rates are still lower than those of the rest of the population.  Tertiary completion rates remain low, and young Pacific peoples identified as NEET (not in employment, education or training) are significantly higher than for other population groups except for Māori.”

This isn’t a big surprise for us; we’ve known school education has been a major issue for Pasifika, and the flow-on effect of that lands us with the kinds of employment and housing opportunities we see.

Economic Disparities

From the paper:
“Pacific peoples have continued to earn lower wages than other ethnic groups. Labour market outcomes in part reflect differences in skills and qualifications but more importantly job characteristics and the industries that Pacific peoples work in.”

The labour market statistics from 2022 show us at a lower employment rate compared to the total population (69.3% for females and 74% for males).

It’s not hard to make the leap from “Educational Achievement and Participation” section before to the “Economic Disparities” we see in the paper:

“Pacific peoples also have low completion rates in tertiary education (see section 7.1) and high representation of youth not in employment, education or training (NEET). This has resulted in an over-representation of Pacific peoples in jobs that require fewer educational qualifications and are often low income and unstable” (bold is mine).

Health Challenges


The paper talks about Pacific people health experience:

“...especially in low rates of childhood immunisations and cervical and breast cancer screening.  These challenges are ongoing and risk compounding pre-pandemic disparities in access to health services and health outcomes. Coupled with increased experiences of discrimination, these factors impact on future physical and mental wellbeing.”


Housing Challenges

The housing challenge, in New Zealand, has been especially hard on Pasifika due to the compounding effects of the low education-employment cycle leading to poor quality, unsuitable, and unaffordable housing for Pasifika families.

“Pacific children (aged 5–14 years) are 50 times more likely to be hospitalised from developing acute rheumatic fever (ARF) compared to non-Pacific, non-Māori children.  Life expectancy for Pacific New Zealanders is 5 years lower for males and 4.5 years lower for females compared to the rest of the population.”

Data Gaps

And to make things harder, we can't respond to these challenges in a systematic and hopefully systematic way, because of the challenges around collecting data and undertaking comprehensive and coherent quantitative and qualitative analysis relevant to Pacific wellbeing.

Future research depends on it, and any insights that could produce better outcomes depend on it.

When our community is staring down the barrel of the same challenges, yet again, and wondering what can be done about it—what can I tell them?
I know we all reach for the same dreams (or at least our parents reach for them for us, 😂)—sports career, doctor, lawyer, accountant.

There's nothing wrong with any of these professions, but I just want to put another option on the table that I know will help our community out as much as any of these professions would.

And here's why:

Screenshot 2023-12-11 075910.jpg

What can Tech Do for Pasifika?

When I argue for Pasifika to pursue a career in tech, a high salary is only one of those reasons.

For any Pasifika, from our community and thinking "why a career in tech?", the top 4 reasons for me:

1. High Demand and Job Security

The technology sector is one of the fastest-growing industries globally, including in New Zealand. "Digital transformation" is a process where companies and governments are moving the way they work and where they work, into the digital space, which is creating a high demand for people with tech skills. High demand equals job security, and financial stability for your family that's also paying enough to no have to work multiple jobs.

2. Competitive Salaries

Tech jobs are among the highest paying in New Zealand. For Pasifika, entering the tech industry can mean a significant uplift in earning potential compared to traditional roles often occupied by the community. The "Pacific Peoples Wellbeing" paper outlined how Pasifika were often in the lower skilled and lower pay jobs; turning to tech can swing that around significantly and you don't need a 4 year University degree to do it.

3. Flexible Working Arrangements

The technology sector is known for its flexibility, including work-from-home options and non-standard working hours. "non-standard" just means as long as you do your hours e.g. 2 hours in the morning, 5 hours in the afternoon and 1 hour in the evening, you're all good. This would help us balance our professional lives and family and community commitments too.

4. Education and Training Access

The barrier to entry in tech is becoming more flexible, with numerous pathways including boot camps, online courses, and certifications that are often shorter and more affordable than traditional degrees.

This accessibility is crucial for those who cannot afford the time or money for a lengthy education. Additionally, many tech companies and organisations offer scholarships and internships specifically aimed at underrepresented groups, including Pasifika, providing both financial support and valuable work experience.

Why Tech? How does it help Pasifika?

Levels. fyi is showing right now that the median entry-level salary for engineers with 0 to 1 years of experience is $79,950.00 NZD, with the average Software Engineer salary range in Auckland, New Zealand, being from NZ$109,424 to NZ$156,523 with 3-5 years of experience.

That's not bad for something you can learn online, or at a bootcamp, and walk into your interview that you used YouTube to study the interviews you'd be going through from the actual recruiters who worked for these companies, telling you all the secrets!

The tech industry is like no other industry; it comes with its good and bad like all things, but for Pasifika, I truly see the opportunity to help us out in the short term with good pay and flexible working conditions to help us where we are today, right now!

Of course, there's all the "losing our jobs to tech," etc., that this will also help address, but we're keeping it positive for this one haha.

What do you think?

I’d be interested to hear what you think about this


Thanks for reading, see you in the next one.


"Ron Amosa is a Senior Solution Architect for AWS in Auckland, New Zealand, with a rich background in Kubernetes, cloud infrastructure, and security across AWS, Azure, and GCP, highlighted by key roles at Amazon Web Services and Salesforce.
He also authors 'The Uncommon Engineer' newsletter on Substack, where he shares his unique perspective as a Pasifika person working in Big Tech, discussing Cloud, DevOps, Cyber Security, AI, and their impacts on the Pasifika community, blending technical insights with reflections on society.


To read his insights and narratives, visit 'The Uncommon Engineer' at"

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