The Pasifika Women’s Alliance is a non-political, nonsectarian, not-for-profit culturally diverse network consisting of women who have migrated to Australia from 22 Pacific Island countries and territories. The alliance seeks to build and strengthen a Queensland sisterhood of Pacific Islander women and to raise the awareness of members as to their rights and responsibilities as citizens and encourages their participation in all aspects of community life.
The objectives of PWA include:
- Identify the key Pacific Islander issues in the wider QLD community;
- Support Pacific Islander women living in QLD to address the issues and escalate to appropriate services or networks;
- Develop women and youth to be better leaders in the wider community
- Promote healthier and stronger families;
- Encouraging diverse cultural heritage for future generations;
- Empower women in Pacific Island communities by sharing appropriate opportunities for networking, education and social enterprise
The management of PWA has always been lead community members on a volunteer basis and our PWA AGM 2020/21 saw the following women elected as the PWA Board 2021.
We take this opportunity to thank the outgoing PWA board and sub-committee members for the contributions made to make 2020 another successful year for PWA. We reflect on the great achievements as well as all the learning opportunities that have been presented to assist us in building more engaged, interconnected and flourishing communities through supporting our women.
We look forward to serving our communities in 2021!
IREE CHOW | PWA PRESIDENT
With a background in accounting and finance, Iree has had the opportunity to utilize her skills across several roles and projects – allowing her to spend her time traveling in between Honiara, Solomon Islands and Brisbane, Australia. As a Chuukese (Federated States of Micronesia) and Chinese-Solomon Islander residing in Brisbane, she stays connected to her cultures by serving in spaces that allow her to give back to her communities and empower women and youth to work together to address the issues and challenges most prevalent to our Pacific Islands. During her studies at the Queensland University of Technology she Co-founded the QUT Pasifika Student Association (QUTPA), sitting as the first President and remains an active member of the Pacific Islands Council of QLD, Pasifika Young People’s Wellbeing Network, Solomon Islands Brisbane Community and Pacific Climate Warriors Brisbane Team. Having sat on the PWA Committee & Board since 2015, it is an honour for Iree to step into the role of President for another term in 2021.
CASSAUNDRA RANGIP | PWA VICE-PRESIDENT
Cass has an educational background in a Bachelor of Laws and International Business completed at Queensland University of Technology and University of New England respectively. She is the Managing Director and Founder of Pacific Fashion Festival with extensive experience in Industrial Relations, Workplace Investigations and Compliance and small business consultancy. She has helped hundreds of small businesses with their employee and operational issues. She is now currently a business owner that owns online stores on third party online platforms. Her passions are equal opportunity, shining a light on the issues of domestic and family violence and creating large scale high impact platforms. Whilst also being a mother of one beautiful daughter with a busy schedule, Cass has created extensive community impact initiatives as the co-founder of The Leniata Legacy, which involved Brisbane’s first street protest march against Gender-Based Violence in PNG through partnering with Amnesty International.
SARAI TAFA | PWA SECRETARY
Sarai is 26 years old and of Samoan descent, she is from the villages of Mulifanua, Laulii and Apia. Sarai has a Bachelor of Business, currently studying towards her Master of Public Health and is the Project Manager for the Pasifika Young Peoples Wellbeing Network (PYPWN). In her role she is passionate about understanding how young Pasifika people perceive their health and wellbeing, using research to inform policy and helping young people reach their full potential through engaging and meaningful projects. She has had Opportunities to raise the voice of Pasifika young people, presenting at international and national forums, co-authoring reports and manuscript publications. Sarai is also working with a social enterprise project that will create 5000 jobs for young disadvantaged Australians by 2030.
YSABELLE MELLAM | PWA TREASURER
Ysabelle is driven by her passion for community service and commitment to empowering Pasifika women and the wider Pasifika community. She regularly volunteers where she can, and is always looking for new and creative way to help. Professionally, Ysabelle works as an IT Business analyst; having studied Business Management and IT at university. As a PWA member, she has sat on both the PWA Public Relations and Events Sub committees. Through her ongoing involvement with PWA, she hopes to further advocate for the Pasifika community and bring attention to the work of Pasifika women and their contribution.
DR HEENA AKBAR | PWA BOARD MEMBER
Heena came to Australia from Fiji in 1991 as a student and has since completed undergraduate, Master’s and Doctorate degrees. She has worked as a lecturer in international and indigenous health at University of Queensland and is currently working at QUT. Her goal as a researcher has always been to support and assist people from the Pacific region with chronic medical issues like diabetes. She recently completed a project with a team of Pasifika women on developing a diabetes wellness program. Heena is a long-term member of PWA where she has taken a lead in the health portfolio. She is married with two children.
VAOAFI ANA HART | PWA BOARD MEMBER
Vaoafi is a proud Samoan hailing from the villages of Salelologa and Falevao and Wellington, New Zealand. She has an extensive background in defence and training and works professionally as a Training Specialist and assisting Australian Defence Force COVID Taskforce as a reservist. Vaoafi is currently studying Robotic Process Automation with Australian Army and keen to learn more about data protection and privacy. She has a passion to assist people from the Pacific region to look into defence and emerging technology as a field of employment.
KATHARINE ROA | PWA BOARD MEMBER
Kata is happily married to Zane and has two furbabies Tiaki and Jaxon. Kata hails from Aotearoa and is of Maaori (Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Manawa, Ngati Whare, Raukawa, Tuwharetoa, Kahungungu) and Samoan descent (Fastootai, Iva, Nofoali’i, Solosolo). Kata holds a BHSc , PG Dip HSc (Adv Nrsg) and MN (Hons) degrees and has worked as a Community Registered Nurse for over 18yrs. Kata strongly advocates for equality and equity for Indigenous and Maaori and Pacifica groups, here in Australia and NZ. She is passionate about Social Justice issues, research, chronic conditions , education, Primary Health Care and family health.