Speakers: Reina Vaai

Hosts: Auckland GWN

Venue: Academy Cinema

Date: 19 November, 2019

Attendance: approx. 100

This event summary was provided by Auckland GWN's Chair, Maria Halligan, who shared her experience of the night and some thoughts and insights from the film and guest speaker.


It is always a highlight of my week when I have the opportunity to be in a room with a group of successful, inspirational and supportive wāhine. So I was excited to join my fellow Auckland GWN members and their whānau and friends at our end of year event.

110+ tickets were sold, and people packed out the Academy Cinema to hear from our guest speaker, Women of Influence finalist, Reina Vaai. As a Māori wahine from Manurewa, Reina’s kōrero resonated with me and many of our attendees. When asked what she is most proud of her reply was confident, “I am proud to be a women, I am proud to be Samoan and I am proud to be from South Auckland.”

We also had a special screening of the movie Vai, which I highly recommend! It was powerful, spiritual and reaffirms the importance of cultural identity and the strength of women inter-generationally – especially for Māori and Pasifika women. It also showcased the talents of nine unsung Māori and Pasifika women filmmakers – that alone is worth celebrating!

In the Q&A session after the film, Reina spoke about the importance of role models and I was moved by her poise and humility. It made me think hard about how we can support and empower more young wāhine like her. Reina even offered her own suggestion: “When we knock on the door of opportunity, we need to walk through, turn around and break it down entirely so that others can follow through behind you.”

Bravo, Reina! I couldn’t have said it better myself.


AGWN end of year event-attendees networking
AGWN end of year event-attendees networking
AGWN end of year event-Reina Vaai guest speaker

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