Vaka Tautua: A Talent Shop employer reaping the benefits of skilled access citizens

Vaka Tautua, a Pacific health and social services provider employs two amazing access citizens through Be. Lab’s Talent Shop. With our support, they’ve also discovered that embracing accessibility in the workplace is not as difficult (or as costly) as some may think!

The Vaka Tautua logo on the Be. Lab talent story series navy graphic.

Two star performers unlock the benefits of accessibility at Vaka Tautua

Vaka Tautua’s mission is to promote and advance the physical and mental development of Pacific peoples in New Zealand and they have partnered with Be. Lab’s Talent Shop since 2016. Our one of a kind employment and internship programme helps organisations unlock the benefits of accessibility and diversity in their business. 

Through the programme, two talented and highly skilled access citizens, Jacinta and Loa, have found roles at Vaka Tautua, each bringing their own unique qualities. 

Jacinta has recently been promoted to manage Vaka Tautua’s website and social media. A natural leader, she is also on the consumer advisory panel for Workbridge and on the board for Taikura Trust

Loa is passionate about connecting access citizens in the Pacific community and brings a valuable youth perspective to the organisation. Her recent promotion to a newly-created role facilitates social connections in both a physical and online space and is a perfect fit for her strengths. 

Kristina Sofele, Vaka Tautua North Western Regional Manager says:

“Our goal is for people to see the person and their strengths first and not their access need.”

Access citizens are problem solvers at heart

Sarah Mitchell, Be. Lab Relationship Manager says that many access citizens are, by nature of their situation, creative problem solvers: 

Research shows that access citizens have to be creative to adapt to the world around them. As a result, they develop skills such as problem-solving, agility, persistence, forethought and a willingness to experiment – all of which are essential for innovation and forward-thinking workplaces”.

Kristina agrees, saying that both Loa and Jacinta are problem solvers at heart:

“In their roles, they always come back with the most efficient and effective way to solve a problem.” 

Employing access citizens shouldn’t be a cost issue

Despite the many benefits of employing access citizens, Sarah has noticed a reluctance from some organisations, largely due to not knowing what additional set up (and costs) will be involved:

“In my six years of experience supporting access citizens into employment and beyond, I have seen low to no additional costs required for employers”.

Kristina says Jacinta and Loa have always been clear about what they need to make their roles work practically for them. “They always give us feedback and tell us what they need”, she explains. And where there was additional set up required, the cost to Vaka Tautua was very little. 

Bespoke wrap-around expertise and support for Talent Shop employers

If you’re an organisation that wants to employ access citizens but don’t know where to start, or need extra guidance to create a more accessible workplace, that’s where our Talent Shop comes in. 

Sarah works closely with Talent Shop candidates to create a bespoke programme of mentoring and professional development, both during their job hunt and as they settle into their new roles: 

“What we offer is much more than a recruitment service. The support we give candidates is tailored to their specific situation to ensure they are workplace ready.”

The benefits of which Kristina has seen first-hand: 

“We have seen the power of having someone specifically focused on an individual and how much that person gets out of that.” 

Kristina strongly believes the Talent Shop is the ideal option for all organisations:

“Be. Lab has credibility, the right expertise and an amazing pool of talent! Jacinta and Loa have added so much value to our team. Organisations that don’t consider employing access citizens are missing out on a huge opportunity.”

For a candidate’s point of view of the Talent Shop, Loa speaks about her experience - take a look here.

Be. Lab's Talent Shop supports leading employers across New Zealand to find and hire diverse, talented staff and ensure that their workplaces are as accessible as possible to all people.

Learn more and get in touch here.


+64 9 309 8966
Be. Lab Office
(Temporary Premises)
Level 5
48 Greys Ave
Auckland Central
Auckland 1010

PO Box 78 021
Grey Lynn 1245
New Zealand