Inangaro Vakaafi is a member of the Niue Youth Council and also a board member and vice chair of the Pacific Youth Council. The Niue National Youth Council is an Incorporated Society established in 1982 to unify the various youth groups on the island. At present, its members consist of the 14 village youth groups as well as 5 youth groups from the different denominations present on the island. The Council represents and acts on behalf of youth and interests concerning youth development at a national, regional and international level. Vakaafi believes that the youth have a huge impact on the changes made for her South Pacific country and is actively advocates for youths to take on leadership roles.
Inangaro identifies sexual and reproductive health and rights, non-communicable diseases, climate change, gender inequality and domestic violence as some of the biggest issues facing Niue. Vakaafi believes that the youth of the nation tend to be more open-minded to the processes of reform in these areas and cites education as the key to breaking down divisions within the country. “I think the key is educating people. Educating people to be more accepting. Because the reason that people don’t support certain issues is because they don’t know much about it, and if you don’t know much about it then there’s resistance. So if we could educate people to be more open-minded, accepting . . . and whether or not they come on board that is totally up to them, but we just want to make sure that the voices of the marginalized, those that are discriminated (against) are put out there. Because they’re part of our society.”
Illustration by Amy Cruz
This illustration of Inangaro Vakaafi was Inspired by Hiapo, a form of storytelling through tapestry that is unique to Niue. Included in the country’s native flower, Fiti Pua, both big and small, to represent the women and children she advocates for.
241.46 km2 (231st)
Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy