A former South Auckland primary school teacher is happy he landed in Levin and found a spot on the staff at Taitoko School.
Livigisitone Samuelu found moving with his young family from the big city to small-town Horowhenua didn't come with the culture shock he was expecting.
"I am originally from Ōtara, South Auckland - yes, that Ōtara, and proud - but my family and I decided to move to the greener pastures of the Horowhenua," he said.
"I was completely green but am so happy we made the move ... since our arrival we have not looked back."
Samuelu has wasted no time in becoming involved in the community and is helping to facilitate an information evening at Horowhenua College on Monday night called Talanoa.
The Talanoa evening was being driven by Horowhenua Community of Learners - Kahui Ako, a collective of teachers across the province helping to identify and develop strategies to increase learning and wellbeing for students and their whānau.
"The Kāhui Ako space that I currently sit in gives me a great opportunity to work alongside this amazing team ... this is also a chance to give back to people of this area who have made my family and I one of their own," he said.
"Working in this collaborative space means that different ideas and approaches can be discussed, and meaningful discourse can take place.
"As a father of three sons, I know first hand how important it is to be connected and involved in their learning."
Horowhenua has a large Pasifika population. Samuelu said there were almost 500 students across the different schools recognised as being Pasifika. Some schools had as many as 30 per cent Pasifika students on their roll.
But a Kāhui Ako case study across the district last year resulted in poor Pasifika engagement.
"The reason why we wanted to pursue it was to get more Pacific Island engagement with our community. We do have engagement, but we want a clearer picture of what specific needs there might be and how we can help," he said.
Samuelu said that was because Pacific Island cultures generally communicated better with open discussions and open forums rather than surveys and interviews.
"It was looking at how we can improve things and build better relationships between home and school. It's important that that relationship is a positive relationship.
"We are hoping to have a good turnout," he said.
Notices had been sent to families through all Horowhenua schools. There would be cups of tea and food and cultural performances from different Pasifika groups at the Talanoa evening, before breaking off into groups where questions could be asked in an informal setting.
"There is an invitation to all parents in the Pacific Island community to come along," he said.
Both Samuelu's parents arrived in New Zealand in the early 1970s from Samoa to fill the gaps in the workforce at the time.
"They first resided in Ponsonby central Auckland then made the move south to Ōtara. Our family attend the EFKS church in Ōtara where we have been members for over 30 years," he said.
"In my professional life I have made it my mission to support and lift Māori and Pacific success wherever I can."
He was also keen on basketball, rugby and volleyball.
"Building relationships between school and families will be key in creating success. As my old rugby coach used to say, "Teamwork makes the dream work."
Kāhui Ako received government funding. School teacher Gerard Joyce was appointed as an ASL (Across Schoool Leader) for Horowhenua Kāhui Ako and said the forum provided educators with a chance to identify any barriers to learning and to gather feedback.
Parents and teachers would break into groups where questions and information could be shared, he said.
The key questions were what are the barriers to education, what can help students achieve success.
Joyce said on Wednesday night Kāhui Ako was organising a Wānganga Pakupaku at Waiopehu College, where more than 100 teachers from different schools would discuss the draft of a new New Zealand history curriculum from the Ministry of Education.