Words matter and we must tell our story

13 November 2019

Robin Kapeteni with her proud parents Tulolo and Petala Kapeteni.

The recipients of the 2019 Pacific Peoples Awards were announced at a colourful celebratory event which took place on Friday evening 8 November at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland, attended by over 300 people.

Robin Kapeteni, an emerging leader critical to the development and delivery of the MYSTORY framework, an initiative that targets mental health, was announced winner of the Pacific Emerging Leadership Award sponsored by Le Va.

Robin believes that everyone has a story to tell.

“I believe that a story has power, significance and value. I joined the SouthSeas Healthcare MYSTORY initiative during my last year at De La Salle College in 2018 and I am one of the first participants of the MYSTORY initiative. I am also one of the eleven MYSTORY interns who graduated in the programme recently.”

Robin has gone from strength to strength using the MYSTORY platform to encourage and empower other young people, especially the Pacific LGBTQI community.

“My parents migrated from Samoa to give their children a better life and a better future. They have inspired me to do better but life has been tough.”

“I’ve been vulnerable throughout my life journey because I am different. As a young fa’afafine you’re always exposed to being judged and getting negative reactions.”

“The MYSTORY initiative showed me that it is OK to be vulnerable, which is not so much a sign of weakness, as it is exposure to learning and accepting the hardships of life. I’ve accepted that and this has changed my outlook on life.”

“I am inspired by people who are fierce and unapologetic about themselves to achieve. One of the things I’ve learned from the MYSTORY initiative is to empower vulnerability, speak my truth and focus on my strengths. This really helps me with my mental health.”

“I know how it feels to be marginalised but I also feel empowered by inclusivity and diversity. MYSTORY helps me to express my uniqueness”, says Robin.

“Sometimes I have to accept that the conversations may not be easy. However, the MYSTORY initiave has enabled me to tell my own story and not be afraid of being judged by others. I am surrounded by like-minded youth and we have to keep reminding ourselves that we are all different and unique in our own ways.”

“I am forever grateful to be recognised at the Pacific Peoples Award and full credit to Lemalu and the team at SouthSeas Healthcare, especially Shana Satele for setting up this wonderful initiative.”

“My whole MYSTORY experience is very liberating and my advice to people who have a story to tell is to get out there and share it. It is OK to be vulnerable and to talk about the hardships of life.”

Working alongside SouthSeas Healthcare, Robin champions the MYSTORY initiative, speaking at many youth-focused events and schools to allow space for young people to share their stories. She has contributed a youth rainbow voice and connected the rainbow community to this initiative and has shared her story with more than 200 young people throughout South Auckland.

Aside from being the MYSTORY champion, Robin also engages in full time studies for a double major in Communications and History at the Auckland University of Technology. She was also the recipient of the Mahi Tahi - Collective Award at the New Zealand Youth Awards in June.

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