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Emeline Afeaki-Mafile’o

Social work entrepreneur

Setting up her own mentoring service at the age of 25, running a community café and part-owning a sustainable coffee factory is only a snapshot of the amazing community contribution of Massey social work graduate Emeline Afeaki-Mafile’o.

Her initiative and huge contribution to the Pasifika community and Pasifika has seen her win one of the most prestigious New Zealand prizes for women – the Women of Influence Award (for community service and social enterprise).

She was only 25 when she set up her company, Affirming Works, a non-profit organisation that runs programmes in South Auckland schools to develop leadership skills. It has helped thousands of young people.

Emeline also runs a social policy consultancy, a community café in Otahuhu, and with her family owns a coffee factory in Tonga to teach skills and give jobs to local people. The coffee is sold in New Zealand to support her programmes.

She was recognised in the award for her “innovative and extraordinary leadership” of her communities in South Auckland and Tonga.

In winning the award, she thanked God for his faithfulness, acknowledged her late mother Edith Afeaki who was a great woman of influence to her, and her father Pat and other family members and friends who helped set up and support setting up Affirming Works.

Mrs Afeaki-Mafile’o has a Bachelor of Social Work with honours, a Diploma of Social Sciences and a Master of Philosophy majoring in social policy from Massey, and says she is a “proud alumna”.

“My parents told me and my brother and sister that we were expected to go as far as we could with education and make a contribution to life. Massey made a huge contribution to my success.

“It offered holistic learning with a really broad approach including the Treaty of Waitangi, the law, management and leadership. Today I’m really fortunate, working in my own community and embracing my own culture.”

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