Peter Fa’afiu: Making every person and every effort count
(Picture caption: Peter Fa'afiu plays an active role in the community. CREDIT Noted.)
Challenges come hand-in-hand with management and governance roles, of which Peter Fa’afiu, an active member of the Pacific community, has held many.
The Founder and Partner of the management consultancy Navigator Limited says his Samoan heritage and background of growing up in a low income family has shaped his values and his approach to life, what it brings and how he deals with the hard times.
Born in Samoa, Peter spent his first five years there, before arriving with his family to settle in Glen Innes, Auckland, where he was raised in a state house until his parents bought a property in Panmure nine years later.
After attending local Catholic schools - St Pius X, St Patricks and Sacred Heart College where he was Head Boy in 1996 – he went on to complete his tertiary studies at the University of Auckland before embarking on a varied career.
“I joined the foreign service as a young and green 24-year-old, and then NZ Post Group as Head of Government and Community Relations when I was 31,” Peter says.
By age 36, Peter had become the Interim CEO at Tamaki Regeneration Company, and two years later, he went into consultancy.
While delivering outcomes in diverse management roles, Peter serves his community, holding several governance roles.
Currently, Peter is the Chair of Pacific Media Network, Amnesty International NZ, First Foundation Trust; he is a Board Member of Pacific Business Trust; and Member of the NZ Press Council, Auckland Airport Community Consultation Group and the Institute of Directors.
Despite wearing so many hats, Peter is grateful for every opportunity he has been given to create change, and never takes any of it for granted – an attitude he has adopted since he was young.
“Growing up in a low income family is always hard but on the other side, it builds resilience,” Peter says.
He adds no one provided him an opportunity because he was a Pacific Islander, but they gave it because of his skill-set and his ability to deliver results.
“Every role should be about the kaupapa, outcomes and leaving a legacy for the next person.
“Legacy comes from results; results come from action; action comes from decisive decision making; that comes from a sound strategy and that comes from working collaboratively with everyone – it’s a pretty simple formula.”
Peter says he has set of values which he aligns with based on his Catholic faith.
He has hired and fired a lot of people and it comes down to two values: integrity and respect.
“Have both and you will be an excellent leader; de-value both and you become an after-thought.
“I am also very open with people and call them to account when it comes to mis-alignment of values.”
Sometimes, his style of leadership for some Pacific leaders is seen as confronting however, he sees it as accountability and challenges therefore can come from the Pacific community itself, he says.
“I have overcome these challenges by simply avoiding the noise and being decisive, and I’ve also had great mentors who have provided guidance and support when required.
Self-belief has been essential throughout Peter’s journey.
“I’ve had failures but have learnt from all of these to continuously improve as a person.”
These days, Peter only has to look to his three children to inspire him to continue serving the Pacific community, and those less fortunate.
“My children will inherit a society in which my generation will be responsible for - I was CEO at age 36; I can only imagine what they will do when they get the opportunity.
“I also take them back to Panmure nearly every weekend to see the family home – they live in a beautiful area (Waiuku), attend a rural school, and live in a high income household - I want them to remember every time they step on to our family home they and their cousins emanate from a family of hard workers.
“Every person and every effort must count.”
At 39 years old, Peter has already kicked a huge number of life goals – but he has many more in mind, and is itching to go back into a CEO role if the right one comes along.
Wherever and whatever he ends up doing, be sure he will do it with integrity and respect, and for the good of society.
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