VĀSĀ Consultancy was formed in response to the urgent need for culturally-appropriate, grass-roots engagement between the Pasefika communities of Victoria, and Victorian state and local government organisations.
A champion for Pasefika community engagement, VĀSĀ’s services include cultural awareness training which creates pathways for community-led initiatives, as well as advocating for more opportunities and supports that promote safer and healthier Pasefika communities.
FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF VĀSĀ CONSULTANCY
Advisor, Academic, Facilitator & Music Director/Composer
Rita is a highly-respected leader, educator, advisor and member of the Pacific Island/Pasefika community in Melbourne. Since emigrating to Australia 20 years ago from South Auckland, Aotearoa (NZ), Rita has been a champion for Pasefika community engagement, leading Pasefika initiatives and projects that have helped pave the way for many Pasefika community groups operating in Melbourne today. She is a strong advocate for Pasefika community engagement, empowerment and safety, utilising a grass-roots approach throughout her work, enabling community members and leaders to contribute meaningfully to events and projects that uplift Pasefika peoples in Australia. Rita has been instrumental in the establishment of the following groups: The Melbourne Samoan Choir, Pacific Island Creative Arts Australia Inc. (PICAA), Miss Samoa Victoria Inc., and Melbourne Samoa Netball Club.
Through VĀSĀ Consultancy, Rita provides youth mentorship, leadership and advocacy training Pasefika young leaders aged 15 to 25 years old – building the next generation of leaders through the Pasefika Navigators program. Rita has also facilitated many youth-focused workshops, most recently, the Victoria Multicultural Commission’s Leadership in Action for Multicultural Youth.
As a Pasefika advisor and consultant, Rita’s cultural and community knowledge and insights are highly sought by various Government departments, agencies, local councils and organisations. Rita is a member of the following advisory committees:
- Australian Museum Pacific Curatorium Collective (Pacific Gallery opening in September 2023)
- Multicultural Emergency Management Partnership (MEMP)
- Museums Victoria’s Inclusion Working Group 2022 – 2026
- VicHealth Mental Health Literacy Program Steering Committee
- Department of Health’s key Pasefika leader for the COVID-19 communications strategy for Pasefika peoples in Victoria.
As a creative, Rita is currently completing a PhD in Ethnomusicology – her research focus being Pasefika music in diaspora. She is also a guest lecturer at the University of Melbourne’s Conservatorium of Music, Music of the World subject for undergraduates. She is the founder of Pasefika Vitoria Choir, and is a change-maker in the arts, creating a platform for Pasefika creatives in the Melbourne arts scene.
Her most recent honours include an APRA Music Awards nomination (2019), Australia Day Award Winner for Cultural Achievement (Brimbank City Council, 2018), and Cultural Ambassador for Melbourne Storm Rugby League (2018); and most recently was awarded as a Global Womens Peace Ambassador by Women’s Federation of World Peace International (2022).
MAJOR PARTNERS & MEMBERSHIP
VĀSĀ Consultancy is a major partner of Pacific Island Creative Arts Australia Inc. (PICAA), a creative arts organisation that promotes Pasefika creative skills and talents in Australia.
VĀSĀ Consultancy is a founding member of the Village Response Collective (VRC), a collective of 5 Pasefika consultants/advisors working towards empowering Pasefika communities in Victoria.
VĀSĀ Consultancy is the Pasefika representative organisation on the Multicultural Emergency Management Partnership program, facilitated by Victorian Council of Social Service and Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria – supporting emergency preparedness and resilience among migrant and refugee communities.