West Papuan Laurens Ikinia helps empowering fellow overseas wantoks

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West Papuan student in Aotearoa New Zealand Laurens Ikinia
West Papuan student in Aotearoa New Zealand Laurens Ikinia ... "We are studying and living in a country that has a diverse community where indigenous people and non-indigenous people live together." Image: ABC screenshot APR

Jordan Fennell of ABC Pacific Beat talks to Laurens Ikinia

Living in New Zealand as a student Laurens Ikinia wanted to create a space for the West Papuan diaspora to gather.

“We have been facing challenges and oppression back home so it is really hard for us to preserve and maintain our culture,” he said.

The West Papuan Students Association in Oceania started in 2020 but they launched the “Empowering Wantoks” programme last year.

Guest speakers are invited to discuss topics with students about West Papua and they host language classes as well.

Ikinia is a Masters of Communication postgraduate student at the Auckland University of Technology and said that living in New Zealand had been a good experience.

“We are studying and living in a country that has a diverse community where indigenous people and non-indigenous people live together,” he said.

“That makes us feel like we are welcome.”

However, the students are currently campaigning to be able to finish their studies in New Zealand after Indonesia abruptly cancelled their scholarships at the start of this year.

Republished with permission.

 

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