Betty Seluka Talie

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Betty Talie

My normal working day starts with a Bible verse that I subscribe to through email. It is the first thing I read and it sets the tone of the day for me.

I am originally from Tuvalu and Fiji, my father is from Tuvalu and my mum hails from the island of Lakeba, in the Lau islands of Fiji. I am married to Talie Tilinga and we have four children and six grandchildren.

We moved to Fiji in 1991 when my husband was offered a job at the University of the South Pacific (USP) and we spent 14 years there raising our family. We both worked at USP before we came to New Zealand.

My first job here was with the Auckland District Health Board as a Human Resources (HR) Administrator and then as an Organisational Advisor before taking up the role with The University of Auckland in the HR department as Position Maintenance and Benefits Manager - the role that I am currently in. I am always driven by a desire to work with people and that is what I have been doing up until now.

The University has been very good to me and I am very privileged to be working in one of the top universities in New Zealand, and coming from a small island nation in the Pacific is a personal achievement in itself. To me the key to everything in life is honesty and hard work.

I’ve worked here for over four years now which is in itself a testament to the University being a good place to work, or maybe it’s the team that I work with. This team is very easy to work with, very professional and I just love being around them.

One of the many reasons we moved to New Zealand is to give our children access to good education and a stable foundation in life. Education for me is a fundamental right for all people. It opens the way to many choices from which to choose the pathway we wish to pursue in life. My parents’ vision has always been to give us good education and that’s what I have been doing for my children.

It is very encouraging and I am very proud to see our Pacific Island people here in New Zealand who are gaining prominence in their own right in their different fields and that’s what we should be encouraging our children to strive for. Let us move away from the thinking of “go get a job” to the spirit of providing opportunities for a good education in order to achieve a quality lifestyle for our children.

At the moment my oldest son is studying Marine Engineering, at the NZ Maritime School, my second son is in his final year of a Bachelor of Science, here at the University, and my daughter is studying towards her second degree doing a LLB at the University of the South Pacific. My youngest son, my baby, is in his Year 11 at Kelston Boys High School.

As for myself, I first did my Diploma in Management studies before completing my first degree in Public Administration and History of Politics at the USP. I’m now thinking about doing a master’s degree in HR and it’s something I hope to do in the future.

My Mum always tells me that in anything you do, you have to give it your honest and best effort, and you have to be a good person - her favourite quote, is “do unto others what you want them to do unto you”. And this is what I have based my life upon. If you treat people nicely you will be treated nicely too. My mother passed away in 2003 but I still miss her every day.

Moving to New Zealand has been a huge step for me and my family as my husband and I had good jobs in Fiji. But it’s a decision that we both made and we don’t have any regrets and here we are eight years down the line.

I am proud of where I am today, and I wouldn’t be here today had it not been for the love and support of my family and most importantly God’s enduring love.

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