Kia ora, my name is Pania Wilson, and I am a Labour Candidate for the Papakura Local Board 2022.
I am of Ngati Tuwharetoa and Ngai Te Rangi iwi, married for 37 years, my husband is of Te Akitai Waiohua, Waikato-Tainui and Ngai Te Rangi iwi. We have two grown daughters and a handsome 9 year old Mokopuna. I have one younger brother who lives in Sydney, Australia with his lovely wife who is of Fiji-Indian culture and their children and mokopuna. In my whanau we are blessed to have all these beautiful cultures: Maori, Pacific, European, Asian, African, Indian - just beautiful.
South Auckland is very much in my DNA – I was born and raised in Mangere, moved to Manurewa with my young family where we lived for almost 20 years and part of the Kohanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa and Wharekura movement and still are today, and we moved and settled in Papakura with my grown family and Mokopuna.
I was raised in Mangere in a quiet, safe cul-de-sac street with a diverse cultural neighbourhood, we had beautiful Irish, Dutch, European, Maori, Asian, Fijian, Samoan, Tongan families and we all owned our own homes through either Housing Corporation or Maori Affairs schemes.
Our whanau were part of the Open Brethren church, and I was raised in a Christian home. My mum was a talented musician, composer, and singer and she would hold singing classes for all the children in our street. Children would often come over home just to hang out, we were all very close and looked out for each other. My parents were always referred to as Aunty and Uncle.
Under my mum’s tutorage we formed a singing group called The Melody Messengers consisting of six of us, all girls of the same age and all from our street. We were in demand for singing engagements and my parents would chaperone us to the different bookings we had at the various churches and community events. My mum also taught Kapa Haka, and all of us girls learned how to do the long poi where we would have two poi in each of our hands performing actions that looked like windmills. Through our singing and Kapa Haka we became members of the Friendly Road Children’s Choir and we took our music and Maori culture on tour to the Pacific coast of the USA in 1980 where we performed at Los Angeles schools, at Disneyland in Anaheim, toured Portland Oregon where we performed our Kapa Haka on Oregon TV. We toured Oahu, Hawaii and performed at the hotels at the famous Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, and we visited and performed at a native Hawaiian school.
From an early age my parents instilled in me the concept of servant leadership, community service and the values of Manaakitanga (to care for), Whanaungatanga (to work together, all cultures), and Aroha (love for each other). Community service became very evident when my parents received the call to work for others and became the Hostel Parents at Nau Mai Hostel in Mariri Road, Onehunga where they cared for young people who just needed guidance, nurturing care and loving support.
I have continued community service, whanau engagement, advocacy and support and have done this mahi, work in Papakura for well over a decade.
With the support of whanau, colleagues and friends, I was encouraged to stand for the Papakura Local Board in this year’s Local Government elections.
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