Franklin local, Peter Fa’afiu, has described being named as an Influential Humanitarian by University of Auckland as ‘an honour.’
The Pukekohe resident has been named as one of the inaugural influential 40 Alumni under 40 years of age, after a number of leaders in their fields nominated him for his work with communities.
“They (University of Auckland) approached me back in July saying people had nominated me. I thought that there must be more outstanding candidates out there but as they interviewed me a couple of times, they reaffirmed some of the stuff I had done was pretty cool,” said Peter.
The initiative was introduced as a way of showing the current students what some of the University’s alumni have been up to since leaving study.
Peter’s journey with tertiary education is somewhat unique, as he made himself repeat his first year after he became unimpressed with his end of year results.
“My first year at university didn’t go at all well. I spent too much time partying, playing rugby and revelling in the freedom that you get that first year out of school. In hindsight I should have taken a gap year.”
With it being such a poignant time currently for students, Peter’s advice to them is to ‘find balance in your studies.’
“My head told me to do law but my heart told me to do history so I did both. I also advise to think about whether you want to continue studying; other options include taking a year off. I also ask that you remember the efforts of others who have supported them whether it be parents, extended family, friends or mentors. ‘Thank you’ to these folks from time to time goes a long way.”
After studying, Peter became a diplomat, trade negotiator, lobbyist, general manager, chief executive, and now co-owns a consultancy based in Pukekohe. Recent years has seen him expand his governance roles, including being the chair of Amnesty International NZ, a media company, and an education entity providing scholarships. Peter is also a member of the New Zealand Press Council.
“All the work I’ve done has been my passion – helping people and communities fulfill their potential. However, it came at a high cost – including my marriage and time with my three kids. These were massive life lessons and re-prioritising which includes being based in Pukekohe. I’ve even joined their school Board of Trustees at Pukeoware.”
Seeing him through the challenging times is the Japanese mantra, ‘order, peace, prosperity, good fortune,’ which he also has as a tattoo.
“It’s something I wish upon my clients as they grow their businesses and communities.”
For Peter, being a ‘humanitarian’ influencer does sound slighty ‘odd’ to him.
“But as the interviewer said to me, it’s about providing the opportunity and environment for others to fulfill their human potential, aligned to strong values of integrity, kindness and community. So yeah, I’ll take that!”
To read more about Peter’s inspiring journey, visit www.auckland.ac.nz/en/alumni/our-alumni/40-under-40