Visual Effects & Animation Specialist
Age at interview: 20 years
Qualification: Advanced Diploma in Visual Effects & Animation
Ethnicity: Solomon Islander
Country of birth: Solomon Islands
In this video
|Early Years and Cultural Identity
|TAFE Diploma and First Jobs
|Parent’s Expectations and Support of Education
|Challenges at School
|Experiences of Racism
|Visiting Solomon Islands and Solomon Community in Australia
|Language and Cultural Practices
|Navigating Cultural Identity
|Parent’s Journey to Australia
|Deciding on TAFE Education
|Family and Friend Relationships
|Advice for Pasifika Youth
|Education Requirements for Industry
|Future Career Aspirations
|Social Relations and Cultural Expectations
|Advice for Pasifika Youth
- Early Years and Cultural Identity
- TAFE Diploma and First Jobs
- Parent’s Expectations and Support of Education
- Challenges at School
- Experiences of Racism
- Visiting Solomon Islands and Solomon Community in Australia
- Language and Cultural Practices
- Navigating Cultural Identity
- Parent’s Journey to Australia
- Deciding on TAFE Education
- Finding Work
- Role Models
- Family and Friend Relationships
- Advice for Pasifika Youth
- Education Requirements for Industry
- Future Career Aspirations
- Language Acquisition
- Social Relations and Cultural Expectations
- Advice for Pasifika Youth
- Support during primary and high school
- Experiences of post-secondary education and training
- Developing Careers
- Experiences of Work
- Reflections and advice to young Pacific People
Early Years and Cultural Identity
So I was born in Solomon Islands near 2000 in Honiara. When I was around two months old, there was some ethnic tension around some provinces in Solomon Islands, so we, my mum and my dad both decided, “Oh, let’s go to Australia.” So, ran away to Australia, lived in Queensland for a bit, just a year or two. Eventually we moved down to Melbourne. I started out at a primary school in Melton, and then I eventually moved around until I was in year 12, graduated. While I was in high school and primary school, I really went back and forth between Solomon Islands. Just little visits, not staying there or anything, and something I really realised was there was this disconnect between myself and the kids from Solomon Islands.
Because I’m very Australian, is how I would call myself. I speak very fluent English. When I try to speak Pidgin, actually, when I was younger, that’s the creole, the language, they would laugh at me. Because I have this very English accent, and it’s like, “Oh, okay.” So it really put me off speaking their kind of creole. I understand it very well, and if I tried, I could probably hold a conversation, but I always opted for speaking English. There was this very specific thing my parents would tell me.
When I was five or six, I went back to Solomon for a little bit, and I’m a little Australian kid sitting on the beach making this sandcastle, patting it down and everything, and I’ve got no one to speak to, because I’m speaking fluent English and they…I’m speaking to myself, out loud, and the kids there all went, “Oh, this kid’s black but he’s speaking like a White man,” so they called me black-white man, actually. They said, “Come, come look at this black-white man,” and I’m like, “Oh, okay, jeez.”
I really didn’t fit in when I was a lot younger, but as I grew up I just wanted…now I want to feel a bit more in their community. I’d be happy to go back over there, not for too long, I can’t stay there for too long, I’m not going to lie. But yeah, I just feel this real disconnect between me and where I’m actually from. At home, we follow a lot of cultures, but still I’m very Australian-minded. I always think, “Why is it that, when I bring a girl over, I have to give $20 to my sister, or why do I have to give $20 to my auntie,” all this stuff. Yeah, some things I don’t get. Where was I, okay.
TAFE Diploma and First Jobs
Year 12, graduated, and I went off to a TAFE, it was [TAFE name] where I got an Advanced Diploma in Visual Effects and Animation. And that was good, that was great, I learned lots of things, and eventually I got a contract job with a doctor [hospital name]. Earlier this year, I graduated, 2019 from [TAFE name]. So I got this job making a training video. It was great, I spent just over 100 hours trying to edit together this training video for them, and they were really nice. They had this little thing in the background here, they gave me a clapper board, it was really cool. They really helped, and I really enjoyed doing that kind of thing, being on set, yeah.
A lot of people have all these stories about being discriminated against for being from a different area and stuff, but personally I don’t ever feel like I’ve ever been discriminated against for my skin colour or where I’m from. I feel like everybody’s really respectful here, but I’m not doubting that other people have had this kind of issue before. I guess that kind of leads to where I’m now. Right now, I’ve been offered a job doing this, completely other side of the spectrum, it’s for grant writing. It’s in a non-profit organisation, I’m helping them out with trying to figure out how they can get grants from the government, that kind of thing. So I’m going to start a course tomorrow, actually. It’s actually really great.
Parent’s Expectations and Support of Education
Cool, thanks Crofton…where did you do schooling, as in your primary schooling, and how did you find the experience with your schooling in terms of learning, your environment…what was it like, because I recognise too, with our communities here in Australia, there’s a really big struggle with the generation of our parents, because they don’t always understand the education system, and so it affects them in their ability to be able to support. And I recognise that that doesn’t always happen for everybody, but I just want to know, what was your experience like, even with your, as you were going through your schooling, how did you find the support from your parents? Do you think that you got enough support from them throughout your journey? So if you could just talk a little bit about that part, and then I’ll come back to you on a few more other questions.
Okay, no worries. So my experience with my parents while schooling, they very much didn’t understand how it works here, I’ll be honest, because the way it works in Solomon Islands is, the way that my parents explained it to me, is that they work very, very hard to eventually get to year 12, and then come to Australia or go somewhere else as an exchange student, and that makes you a very successful kind of person. But here I think it’s very different, a lot of students, they don’t put the time or effort into it because they feel like they don’t really have to. It’s like, “Oh, I’ve got to do it so I make my parents happy,” this kind of thing. And my parents, they didn’t understand that I didn’t work as hard as they did.
My dad would tell me stories about how…typical Islander story like, “Oh, when I would go to school,” he would say, “I had to go and swim across this river, climb this mountain,” do all this stuff, typical Islander story. “I walked for an hour, wet in my clothes and stuff, to get to school, just so I can learn for however many hours,” it’s like, “Oh, Dad, yeah I got dropped off at school two minutes, yes I get it, I’m very fortunate, yes.” And I feel like my grades weren’t all that great, I got Bs and Cs, if I got an A, I was like, “Oof, I’m the best person ever,” kind of thing. But my parents were very supportive, Dad always tried to help me out with my math homework. English, I still don’t think is their strong suit.
But I feel like there’s definitely a disconnect there where I didn’t understand the lengths that they had to go to, to gain their education and come to Australia and become successful in that kind of way, because here in Australia, it doesn’t feel as important to students. So, yeah definitely, when I was in year 12 and I was ready to graduate, I do feel kind of bad about not putting in as much effort as I could have. But I got where I needed to get, I’ve got an Advanced Diploma now, so I think that’s good.
Challenges at School
Did you struggle going through your schooling, and if you didn’t struggle, or if you did, why do you think…did you struggle with any parts of your learning journey, English with primary, English with high school, and did you find any parts really hard? And if you did, do you understand why you may have found those areas hard.
Honestly, I struggled with things I wasn’t personally interested in, that was my problem. I was very lazy, I wasn’t interested in maths, so I dropped Math Methods and dropped into General Maths. I was very interested in media, so I completely aced that subject, because I was just interested in it, so I did extra work for it. It was very much like, “Oh, I’ll put more effort into the subjects I’m that interested in because I’m actually interested in them,” kind of deal.
Experiences of Racism
You said that you don’t recall any part of your growing up where you experienced a lot of racism. That’s probably rare, I would say. I think it’s awesome, I love that you’ve been fortunate to not have had these really scarring opportunities with people where you experience a lot of racism. But I do wonder if that’s because of your environment. If you grew up in…because Melton is renowned for being quite multicultural, and I think that the fact that they’ve got such a diverse community probably speaks to that point, of you maybe not experiencing as much, or maybe not experiencing any racism. So I think that’s been really cool.
You know, I wonder sometimes whether I have experienced some form of racism, and it’s just blissful ignorance, that I just haven’t realised, or I’ve been treated the same way constantly. But I wonder if I’ve just grown into this kind of thing. How things are, I don’t think I’d change them, so I don’t really think of it as, maybe I have been discriminated against, I just think like, “Oh, that’s just how it is.”
Because there’s different levels of racism too, so there’s the blatant, obvious racism and there’s the casual, subtle forms of racism, which I that even for many of us, a lot of us are still learning about those different types of racism. So I think that could be a point, I think it’s a really valid point that you make.
Visiting Solomon Islands and Solomon Community in Australia
You know how you mentioned that you went back and forth, back and forth to the Solomon Islands and you came back here. How did you find having to switch between…because I think you touched on it that you recognised there’s a real disconnect. So do you still go back often, to the Solomon Islands?
Honestly, I don’t go back often that much. I go back every, maybe once a year or twice a year. It’s very expensive to go back and forth, so maybe my parents will go back and forth twice or three times, but I usually just stay here. And when I was younger, I really hated it over there, I’m not going to lie. I was very much this Australian technology kid, where I would sit on my laptop or computer or on my phone all day. I’ve learned to reel that in, but as a younger kid, I really, “Oh, I just want to be in Australia, I just want access to the internet,” I just want that type of thing.
And so, are your parents still quite involved in the Solomon Islands community here? Do you guys get involved in cultural events, or do you have a community here that you get together with?
So we have this really huge, actually, community around Solomon Islands. We meet up, we talk, just how any other Islander community would be. Independence Day, we throw this massive party, actually, where we get all the kids and everyone, all them hold sessions where they learn how to dance and then on the day we hire out this big venue, and we get the kids and everyone to stand up on the stage and do their dances. We invite all our Australian friends, or from any part of multicultural Australia to come and join us, we feed them Solomon Island food, things like that.
And I think it’s really great. I love seeing all of my cousins, I love seeing all of my aunties and uncles, everyone there, meeting new people, showing them what our culture’s about, getting half-naked and wearing the shell money in front of everyone and then dancing. Haven’t done that for a while, but it was lots of fun. It was great.
Language and Cultural Practices
And so, do you guys practice the language and some of the cultural aspects at home, in terms of traditions?
We definitely stick to a lot of cultures that we would if I was in the Solomon Islands. If I brought a girl over, I would give $20 to my sister because it’s called paying compensation or something. I remember I touched my dad’s bald head once, and my mum was like, “Never do that! Don’t do that!” She was going to hit me, I was scared. It’s some cultural thing, and I went like “Oh, okay.”
No, that’s all right. So, I love that, that’s fascinating in terms of some of the superstitions and some of the practices that you … because similar to my upbringing, I was told not to do a lot of things or to do a lot of things but I never knew why until I got older. It’s only now in my life that I’m really starting to find out the reasons for certain things and why we behave the way we do. So can you tell me a little bit more about the practice of giving your sister $20? Do you know much about what that practice is about?
Honestly, I’m still trying to figure it out for myself. I assume it’s like this bad thing that…in my mind, it’s like, “Oh, I’ve brought a girl to the house,” and it’s like, “Oh, my sister doesn’t want to see this,” or something like that, so I have to pay her off, like “Don’t look at this.” I had to give $20 to all my aunties as well, and it was like, “Oh, okay. I guess if I want to enjoy this thing, I’ve got to give this thing.”
So if your sister brought a guy home, does she have to do that in return?
I think she might have to, yeah. I’m not 100%, but I’m pretty sure she’ll have to give me compensation, I guess you could call it. That’s what they called it to me.
Yeah, cool. So do your parents speak Pidgin to each other?
Yes. My parents always speak Pidgin to each other. In front of me and my sister they probably speak English, but they always speak Pidgin to each other. My mum will often try to speak in her language to me, there’s different languages all over Solomon Islands. She has her own language from Malaita, and she always says things like, “Oh, lalo mae,” that’s the only word I’ll ever understand in the language. It just means, “Come here.” And then, she’ll try to talk to me and then, I’ll be like, “Huh?” And then she’ll say something in English like “plate,” or something, and I’ll be like, “Ah. Plate, grab plate. I get it, yes. I understand your language, that’s right.” No, I don’t understand anything, mum. Please stop.
But yeah, I understand Pidgin very, very well, I’d say. Someone could come to me and speak Pidgin as fluently as they like, as fast as they like, I’ll understand it. Maybe I’ll have some processing time or something, but I think I understand it very well. I wish I could speak it as well as some of my cousins could, but I’m much too nervous to try and talk it now because I have this Australian accent, everyone just kind of laughs at me. It’s kind of sad, sometimes.
Navigating Cultural Identity
No, that’s okay, and I totally understand that, because I think as well, there’s a really big push now for the diaspora, meaning us that leave outside of our homelands, where…my generation, certainly your generation, there’s a real desire, now, to learn our roots and to learn our native tongue. So, I totally understand that, and I understand the shame in being embarrassed, because I’m the same too. So my Tongan language speaking is okay, but not amazing, and I’m very reluctant to speak it. Even though I think it’s probably okay, but I think in my head I feel like it’s worse than what actually comes out.
So yeah, I like the idea of being able to talk about language, because language is a really important part of retaining your culture. As soon as you lose your language, that’s really the beginning of losing everything else. I just wanted to ask you, you made a comment about the tagline that you were given, being called the…is it “black-white man?” And so, how did that make you feel, how did you deal with that? Did you just kind of shrug it off?
Honestly, yeah. I just kind of shrugged it off. It was not really…I was very young, so I don’t remember it very well, but I remember…I just kind of shrugged it off and, “Oh, okay. This is my name now.” [laughing] I still hung out with the kids a lot. They didn’t treat me very differently or anything, they just like, “Oh, he speaks very fluent English rather than speaking Pidgin with the rest of us.” I guess they thought it was weird. I don’t know, I was gone in the head or something, I was such a blissfully ignorant kid, that I was just like, “Oh, they’re young, they’re kids, I’ll play games with them. Whatever they like.”
Parent’s Journey to Australia
So, can you share any bit about your parents and their journey? So, from coming from Solomon Islands and then coming into a completely foreign new country, having to learn…I’m not sure if they spoke English before they came here. From what you recall or what you know, can you tell me a little bit about their journey or transition? And what’s it like now for them in terms of how they navigate, how they get around, and living in the Australian way?
Okay. Jeez, there’s a whole story and lore on why we came here. Very basically, there’s this ethnic tension between some provinces in Solomon Islands, something to do with Malaita and Guadalcanal. They were warring, basically, a lot. My mum being from Malaita, and my dad being from Choiseul, Guadalcanal, there was this real problem, right? Their provinces are at war.
So, I don’t know, they tell me stories like, how like I’m a baby and this guy comes in the house and he’s ready to beat up my dad, and I’m like, “Oh, okay. That’s scary, jeez.” They told me about things like that. My dad just came in the room, sorry. He can probably heard me spoke about that. Anyway, and basically what they’ve told me is they ran away. They bought a ticket to Australia; I think they’ve been here a few times before for studies and stuff. But with me, a two-month year old baby, they got on first a plane to Australia, and basically ran away here. Landed in Queensland, stayed for a bit with one of my aunties who is married to an Australian guy. Eventually, some things fell through, we got stranded, like really stranded on the side of a road, and luckily some guy from church came and picked us up.
He recognised us, and eventually, off of goodwill of the people…they helped us out, they helped us live, because we can’t work in Australia for a solid year. So I don’t know exactly how it happened, but eventually we got down to Melbourne. I’m sure that my parents have some stories or something. When I was very young, my dad, they told me stories about how he didn’t understand shirt sizes or shoe sizes, things like that. And what he did was, he saw the size of my shoes when I was a kid, and he’s like…as a baby, I vomited all over my shirt and stuff. He said, “Oh, his shoe size is this so his shirt size must be the same.” So he bought me this gigantic shirt when I was a kid. My mum came and saw it and was like, “No, [father’s name], what are you doing? This is completely different.”
I can see they definitely…sometimes they don’t understand things here in Australia, but we’ve lived here for a long time now. They understand majority of the culture, things like that, but small things, comes up here and there. I have to explain to my mum and dad, “No, we don’t do that here,” kind of thing.
Deciding on TAFE Education
And so, just to go back to your high school years Crofton, where you finished year 12 and you graduated, which is awesome, and then you got into the Advanced Diploma which you did really well in. How did you decide that that was what you were going to do after year 12?
While I was in year 12, I really had this, and I still do, have this passion for filmmaking, for TV shows, for videos, that kind of thing, and I had already dabbled in this industry of animation, and I was really interested in it. I was actually trying…even for my year 12 media project, I made a short five-minute animation thing, and it just made sense in my head. I’m passionate about this thing. I can make money from this thing. I should just go into this industry.
So that was my pathway, I found this uni that I…well, I thought, “Oh, this looks great for me. They’ll teach me my trade and stuff,” and yes, they were very good. And one of my friends was going there as well, so I was just like, “That’s it! We’re going there.” Catch the train every morning, go down. It was great. It was very, very fun, and I reckon if I still keep working in this industry, I’m just going to have fun every day of my life. It was very enjoyable.
Because I realise now, that you discussing being offered your not-for-profit role in grant writing, which is different to what you studied. So, how did you get into that?
So, my parents made some friends when we were very, very young, and they’re very much family friends now. And they came back recently, and they were saying, “Oh, we’re starting this not-for-profit organisation, you don’t have much work right now at the moment, do you? How about you go do this course for us, and then we’ll pay you for this job while you’re unemployed, and then you can help us with animation once the thing’s all up and running.” I thought, “Great! I’ll go do the course; I’ll help you out with that type of thing. Give me some work to do, I’m doing nothing, we’re in the middle of COVID.” So I thought, “That’s it, yep, I’ll go do work.”
I’m just doing a course, a six-week course on the basics of grant writing and things like that. They’re going to teach me what I need to know to…some law stuff as well. I don’t know the basics, to be honest, but yeah, that’s what they’re going to teach me, and then we’ll jump into the role, help them out however they like. The not-for-profit is help for the disadvantaged and homeless.
So Crofton, just thinking about your journey, do you recall certain people in your life that you looked up to, or particular role models? Is there any one person or people that you recall, you go, “Oh, I’ve just always really aspired to be like them, or I really like what they do.”
Oh, role models, people. Trying to think of…all I can think of is older family friends, I guess, and older cousins and people. My cousin [cousin’s name], my parents told me he was a very big role model from a very young age. When he goes to sit on the toilet, I’m like, “Man, I want to sit on the toilet too. Can I sit on the toilet?” He taught me how to ride a bike, things like that. One of my older family friends, my babysitter, [family friend’s name], he honestly got me into all this gaming, sitting on my computer all day kind of thing. Yeah, he’s like an older brother to me.
Specific role models though, maybe people like my lecturers, they were very successful. One of my lecturers, his name is […], he went and he worked on a bunch of movies, Star Wars, things like that, and I was like, “Whoa. This guy is very successful, he’s gone and he’s worked on all of these movies, all these companies that are asking him to go work for them,” and he’s here teaching us how to do things. And my other teacher, he’s a very successful director. He understands all the principles and things of directing. And I really looked up to them because they’re like veterans of the industry, and it was like, “Man, I really want to reach of this level of professionalism, being this kind of person that people can trust, and people know we’ll get the job done,” that kind of thing. He’s very passionate about his work. Yeah, I want to be known like that.
Family and Friend Relationships
Do you still live around family? What’s your extended family dynamic like? Do you guys live close to other Solomon Islands members of the community?
So yeah, obviously the majority of my extended family is in Solomon Islands, but we have a, I’d say, a pretty big community around here in Melton of Solomon Islanders, and even just Pacific Islanders in general. We often group up for a barbecue or something, if it’s someone’s birthday we’ll all jump over to the person’s house, unless we’re in COVID. It’s a pretty big community, yeah. We have lots and lots of, I could probably count off 13 or 14 uncles between everyone alone. It’s not just in Melton, if we extend it out to say, all of Victoria, well jeez, there’s a whole lot of Islanders there that I know. Can probably jump around from place to place, name off my uncles, which one’s in there, which one’s here, name off my aunties…
So Crofton, what about your social group? Do you have a group of friends that are Pacific Islanders, or what’s your main group of friends made up of?
So my main group of friends that I see every day, they’re all Australians, from high school. Obviously, some of them come from different countries and stuff, but if we’re talking a Pacific Islander group of friends, I’d go straight to my cousins, basically. Yeah, just the people I grew up around, more specifically, we have this group of cousins that are, around Independence our little squad that we always sit around with at events. Yeah, they’re all great,
Advice for Pasifika Youth
If there were other kids that were going to come through and do…what would you advise, if they wanted to do similar, into the same industry as you, what would you encourage them to do in high school to prepare them for study afterwards?
Personally, in my kind of industry, it’s visual effects and animation, I’d say download software, first of all. Get a computer that can run the stuff, then download some software and honestly just work with it, figure something out, say, “Oh, I want to make a levitating ball in my room,” or something. Work towards that goal. Just get familiar with the software, understand what it is you want to do, make some cool things for your show reel, I guess. You won’t use it until you’re working at a TAFE or something like that, but it would be very useful to have this kind of knowledge going into a TAFE or a uni or something that’s teaching you visual effects, animation. You know the software already, that’s it.
And yeah, that’s what I did. I studied up on Autodesk Maya, I studied up on things like Premiere Pro, and DaVinci Resolve, and I really used them from, it must have been year seven or eight, I started working with editing software, and I think it definitely really helped me to understand how the industry works, things like that. Also, you should look into how the industry itself works, things like understanding the pipeline. How it works is, it’s a long stream of individual specialisations. You want to know exactly what you want to be doing. Do you want to be modelling, do you want to be texturing, do you want to be lighting and rendering? Of course, it’s good to have a basic understanding of all these things but working towards a very specific goal will definitely help you in the long run.
Education Requirements for Industry
And so is it the kind of industry that you need to continue further study for? Because you’ve got your Advanced Diploma, do you feel like you need to go back and do more study, or can you just go straight into the industry and start working?
Since my industry is a very arts kind of role, it’s very much a, I don’t feel like I need to do any more work. It’s very much, I need to work myself on creating a better show reel, showing people that I’m potentially getting a job from…I can do this, I’m very good at this, I understand the software that you’re working with, I understand your pipeline, things like that. I don’t feel like I need to do any work, that’s just basically it. Show reel, give me a job.
So you’re comfortable with the technical skills that you have now, and really it’s just about you refining that yourself?
Oh, 100%, like there’s no qualification to saying, “I understand the software, or I understand this thing.” You get the work, you say what software you did it with, and then you say, “I can do this job that you’re looking for. Look at this,” that kind of thing.
Future Career Aspirations
So Crofton, in an ideal world, what’s your dream, say, you think about yourself and where you’re going to be in say, 10 to 15 years’ time, what would you love to be doing, and getting paid for? What does that dream job look like for you?
Oh, there’s a very specific job. I have a kind of dream job. I would love to be working in a pipeline, honestly, at a big company like Luma Pictures or Method Studios. They are very big studios that have worked on things like…they worked on literally all the Marvel movies, and that would just be like…wow, I would love that job. Going to work every day, to sit down and work towards just one shot for two weeks or something. It would be great; I would love that kind of thing.
To get to that point, I’d need to set up some side projects, and just start working away at trying to make my art and my work look incredible, basically. Things that are…the way to describe it is, out-of-the-box kind of ideas, they want to see things that will blow their minds but also that will not bore the person trying to watch the thing. You can’t sit down and give a person a walk cycle. That’ll be the 50th walk cycle they’ve looked at for the day. You want to blow their minds, you want to show someone running away from a giant monster or something, things like that. So basically I, as an artist, would just need to make art. Make art that looks amazing.
So, I’m just trying to reflect now on just your cultural background, recognising too that you don’t speak your language as well as you would like, what are some of the things that you think that you could do to help reconnect some of those dots for you, learning about the history and the language and that sort of thing?
One thing I really want to do that I just haven’t, asked my parents about was, I really want my parents to speak Pidgin to me, so that I could just practice. I want them to just stop speaking English to me completely, because I speak English all the time, to everyone. I really just wanted to ask my parents, “Could you just speak Pidgin to me so that I can practice?” Because I look at my cousins, their parents are always speaking Pidgin to them. I just wish that they just always spoke Pidgin to me, kind of thing.
So do you understand why they didn’t speak to you guys in Pidgin?
From a young age, I wonder if it was so that I could learn English and connect with the other kids from Australia. And yeah, it definitely worked, I speak more fluent English than my parents do now. But yeah, I still wish I could speak Pidgin very well.
Social Relations and Cultural Expectations
No, that’s cool. Thanks for that, Crofton, and I ask that because my parents followed a similar approach in only teaching us the English, or only enabling us to speak English, not our tongue that we use at home. But for the same reasons, so that we could fit in and to help us settle. So as you were growing up, with your circle of friends, did you find that you struggled with getting in trouble outside of the home, or were you…because I’m just trying to draw on, now, the sort of influences around your social upbringing. What were some of the things…so do you understand what I’m trying to ask?
I get what you’re saying, yeah. So there was a thing, my parents are not very supportive of, some very Australian culture kind of thing. Like going out with your mates for a drink, my parents would not support that type of thing, 100%. It’s a very Solomon Islander way of looking at things, they…I agree, I understand their worry for that type of thing. My parents and my uncles and aunties, they all have these really borderline horror stories about alcohol and that type of stuff, and I understand, and I respect that, so it’s kind of difficult to fit in sometimes with some of my friends, just trying to have a drink.
And that I’m kind of scared my parents see me as some kind of saint, like “Oh, I’m never touching alcohol in my life,” kind of deal. It’s like, I’ll do it socially, probably, but my parents don’t understand, “Oh, it’s just a social thing that we do here,” kind of deal. As for my friends, I’ve never really been pressured into doing anything specifically bad, I don’t feel like. It was always…my friends were very good, actually. They were very happy kind of people, there are not really many issues there.
Since about year three, I’ve had the same group of friends, all the way through high school. One of my friends, the one that I went to uni with, I met him in year three, and we’re still friends now.
Crofton, what’s your definition of…what does success look like to you? And it can be success in anything.
Success to me is reaching your goals, kind of deal. You set up a goal for yourself, and eventually when you get there, you’re successful. For some people it might be something as small as, maybe, “I want to finish year 12. I want very good grades, I want an 80 on my ATAR,” things like that. Success, to me, it’s value that you put on something yourself. You want to reach something, and you reach it? That’s success. You find the success for yourself, kind of deal.
Advice for Pasifika Youth
What about, what’s one bit of advice you would like to pass on to the younger youth coming through, based on your experience and your upbringing? What’s one bit of advice you can pass on?
Okay. Some advice that I’d like to pass on. Specifically, to the younger Pacific Islander kids, I would love to pass on some advice of, “Try to be a bit more interactive with your Islander family. Be a bit more in their culture, try to get with their language,” things like that, very simple things. It will help you connect a lot more with the other kids in your culture, help you make a lot more connections, kind of deal, and it’s just beneficial in the long run, being connected with your extended family, and with where you come from.
Support during primary and high school
- Peers and friends as a source of support at school
- Support from parents during schooling (Part 1 & Part 2)
- Support from teachers and schools
- Transition from school to post-school education (Part 1 & Part 2)
Experiences of post-secondary education and training
- Experiences of university
- University journeys: Interruptions and finding one’s direction
- Diverse pathways towards university
- Experiences of TAFE
- Short courses and on-the-job training
- Early aspirations and current occupation
- Talking about future aspirations with family members
- Networks of family and friends
- Be proactive and seize unexpected opportunities
- Creating opportunities: Volunteering
Experiences of Work
- Benefits of being a Pacific Islander at work
- Engaging with Pacific community members through work (Part 1 & Part 2)
- Navigating family and career
- Future aspirations
Reflections and advice to young Pacific People
- ‘Akesa – Community Facilitator
- Ama – Lashing Business Administrator & Marketing Coach
- Annie – International & Community Development Specialist
- Ashirah – University student
- Cass – English Teacher, Writer, Project Manager, & President of the Victorian Kiribati Association
- Chris – Field Officer (HR)
- Christopher – Carpenter & Stonemason
- Crofton – Visual Effects & Animation Specialist
- David – App company CEO
- Elisabeth – Teacher
- Elvina – Building Services Mechanical Engineer
- Fipe – Cacao Products Manufacturing Business Owner
- Grace – Airline Customer Service Agent
- Leki – Physiotherapist
- Luisa – Registered Nurse
- Malelega – Legal Assistant
- Marita – Writer
- Rose – Workplace Consultant
- Sefita – Community Engagement Officer
- Semisi – Lawyer
- Talei – Lawyer & Community Engagement + Government Relations Consultant
- Teisa – Medical Doctor
- Tevita – IT Professional
- Thom – Make-up Artist
- Venna – Lashing Business Owner & Trainer