For Telele Peleti Koteka, a passion for working with children began from a young age, as many of her family members enjoy a rewarding career in early childhood education.
“My late grandmother is one of the most important people in my life who inspired and motivated me to become involved in early childhood. She was a former early childhood, primary and intermediate teacher in Samoa, Australia, and New Zealand. In fact, my grandparents are the founders of the first Tuvaluan preschool in New Zealand back in 1995.
“My mother is also a former early childhood teacher who opened up a Tuvaluan play group in West Auckland. Later on she became a teacher aide for children with special/diverse needs. I love that my family has inspired me to follow a similar path.”
Telele is currently studying a New Zealand Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 5) with New Zealand Tertiary College (NZTC) and working in a Pacific early childhood centre. She says the moment she first walked in the door, she felt a cultural sense of belonging.
“My favourite part is connecting and building relationships with young children by sharing our cultural Pacific Island values, as well as traditional Māori values.
“I enjoy learning from young children and influencing them to strive to achieve socially, academically and confidently in life.”
Telele is extremely appreciative of the support she received from NZTC, and found it helpful that she received regular phone calls to ensure she was progressing well.
“Pastoral Support were always there to talk things through with me in an understanding manner, as well as providing useful advice so I could feel confident to complete my studies successfully.”
Telele has big plans for the future which she is working hard to achieve.
“One day I hope to run my own early childhood practice as a registered teacher. I want to encourage other young Pacific Islanders to choose a career in early childhood education.
“An educator has the knowledge and ability to teach young children our culture, traditions, language, values and beliefs for generations to come. It is very important to me as a Pacific Islander to acknowledge our identity, so we can continue to keep our culture and language alive.”