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Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

2 mins ago

Four years ago, Tasio Simo and his wife Christina moved from Samoa to New Zealand. The couple has seven children, the oldest son is 16 years old and stayed behind in Samoa while the two youngest children were born in New Zealand.

Tasio is currently studying a NZ Certificate in Cookery (Level 4) at EIT, however, the 40-year-old is not new to the hospitality industry. “I’ve graduated with a cookery qualification from the Australia-Pacific Technical College in Apia, Samoa, and worked in kitchens for over ten years before moving to New Zealand,” says Tasio. The passion for cooking developed in his childhood. “Food plays an important role in Samoan culture, our celebrations traditionally involve masses of food and I always loved cooking.”

Since moving to New Zealand, Tasio has been very busy. He worked in orchards, supermarkets and restaurants before deciding to take up cooking again. His Samoan qualification was recognised so he could jump straight in on the level 4 course. “I really enjoy it. I’m not so much the theory kind of person but the hands-on training in the kitchen is great and the tutors are so supportive.”

Tasio says he likes the fact that there is so much work in New Zealand. “The decision to leave everything behind, was not easy, but we wanted a better life for our family,” says Tasio. However, he also misses his parents, siblings and some of little “things” like fresh papaya and fresh coconut cream that he uses to prepare Palusami, a traditional Samoan dish with taro leaves, coconut cream, onion and spices.

After his cookery certificate, Tasio will go on to study patisserie. His goal is to open his own restaurant serving traditional Pasifika cuisine and giving his people a taste of home.

Asked about why he thinks that studying is important, he says, “Many of us Pasifika people have a lot of work experience but lack a formal qualification that you need for a good job. But studying is actually not that hard and it sets you up for life.”