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Pass the Mic

Pass The Mic spotlights the stories and experiences of fifteen New Zealanders from migrant and former refugee backgrounds. This series is a community-led collaboration in partnership with Belong Aotearoa, Sport Waitākere and Storyo, hosted by Elina Ashimbayeva. Elina is the co-creator of Storyo, and moved to New Zealand from Kazakhstan in 2011. Click on the Archives button to find all episodes.


  • Collaborator: Belong Aotearoa

    Belong Aotearoa (Formerly Auckland Regional Migrant Services Charitable Trust - ARMS) supports newcomers, migrants and refugees who have settled in Auckland to learn skills and gain experience and opportunities through a range of projects, workshops and programmes.

  • Collaborator: Sport Waitākere

    Sport Waitākere aims to enable healthy and active lives through the provision of programmes, workshops, activations, mentoring, resources, events and support at low to no cost to the community.

  • Collaborator: Storyo

    Storyo celebrates the stories of women and gender diverse folk in Aotearoa with the aim of contributing to a culture shift that improves societal attitudes, behaviours, narratives of success and values of representations.

Pass the Mic

Friday, 29 April, 2022

Vira Paky

A young Congolese-Kiwi-South African woman, Vira is Chairperson of the New Zealand National Refugee Youth Council, which advocates for, engages & supports refugee background youth around Aotearoa New Zealand. Vira is an outstanding poet who writes about intersections of feminism, race, African identity and many other poignant topics. In this episode we talk about Vira’s poetry, being true to her voice, black-kiwi representation in New Zealand, what it means to be an advocate in this day and age, and Vira's “hot take” on young people and the future.

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