Siaosi Gavet

Research activity per year

Personal profile


“Somebody’s got to be crazy about that kid. That’s number one. First, last, and always.” Urie Bronfenbrenner, Psychologist

George has held a number of executive and senior management roles in the education, employment and social sectors in Auckland, New Zealand. He was appointed to Chief Advisor at the Ministry of Education, Chief Development Officer with the Solomon Group. He is the current General Manager at VisionWest Community Trust's Education, Training & Employment Centre and leads a portfolio of youth mentoring programmes in education, vocational training and employment.

George is also involved various community Pasifika youth development programmes in Auckland and he has significant involvement in Pasifika community initiatives. His network of associations span local community initiatives to governance leadership positions on various boards.

In his 'spare time', apart from finishing his PhD, George is the CE and Programmes Director, for a youth development mentoring programme (Pro-Pare Athlete Management Trust) that caters for predominantly young Pasifika males who have left school and are in danger of dropping out of the schooling system prematurely, or have left with little or no formal qualifications. He has an unrelenting passion for youth and is energised when he sees them flourish as a result of his influence and gentle persuasion.


Research interests

George Gavet began his PhD in 2015. His research topic is,

"Improving the relocation experience of youth Pacific rugby league players moving from New Zealand to an NRL club in Australia".

The available data suggest that each year around 800 New Zealand teenagers relocate to Australia and apply to the New Zealand Rugby League for an international transfer so they can play in Australia. Around 60 relocate to National Rugby League (NRL) clubs. Some of the others have no ambition to play professional league, but many are relocating to chase the NRL dream. 

There is a widespread acceptance that relocation is a traumatic experience for many Pacific teenagers. They transition rapidly from schoolboy living at home to young man who has to fend for himself without the support of faith, family, and friends while competing for a contract in a country that has significant differences to the one, he has left. This is all on top of the transition from talented teenager to professional athlete with its known mortality (from suicide) and morbidity (from depression and other mental health issues) in the NRL. 

This thesis interviewed, using a life-history methodology, six NRL first grade players and two athletes who have not made a debut to explore the factors which influenced their relocation experience. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with seven NRL Wellbeing and Education Managers and one pair of house parents to determine what factors these stakeholders thought influenced the relocation experience. The research had approval from the ANU Asia Pacific Delegated Ethics Review Committee. 

The research found that the relocation experience of these young men mirrored that of their parents and grandparents who relocated from the Pacific Islands to New Zealand in the second half of the twentieth century. There was also considerable overlap with the factors identified in the international literature on sports migration of talented junior athletes. The factors influencing the relocation experience were grouped into ten categories. Five of these groups are included in the NRL’s Wellbeing Model (the Flourishing Wheel). They are career, culture, family and relationships, psychological, and spiritual. Five are not and are not currently considered in the development of a wellbeing plan. These are accommodation, culture shock, NRL club, player agents, and preparation for relocation while in NZ.    

An unexpected finding was that, despite the NRL’s Career Wise programme, these athletes were reduced to labouring jobs to fund their initial years in Australia. Young men who would have pursued a university education or an apprenticeship had they stayed in New Zealand cannot do this in the current NRL system.  

Athletes who relocate from New Zealand crash into the NRL development system. It is a hard landing. A lot could be done to prepare athletes for relocation in the year before they leave New Zealand. 

George's research interests have centred around Pacific youth. In Aotearoa New Zealand, Maori and Pacific young people fall behind their European conterparts at a disproportionate rate in terms of education.  Pacific people are often pigeon-holed into categories where they appear to do well, for example the sports arena, or performing arts.  Failing education outcomes and social statistics help to support notions of underachievement, when the reality is more to do with the inequity of opportunity.

The good news is that Pasifika or Pacific peoples, are beginning to reshape their own narratives as there is now an emerging wave of talented, qualified Pacific leaders who have become experts at walking in both worlds. Where Pacific and Western worlds collide, the emergence is a wave in Pacific champions in key fields like education, employment, housing and the general social character is being rewritten. 

Pasifika are now taking up influential roles in local and national government, holding key portfolios, and are being included in critical dialogue where policy decisions where in the past were being made them, are now being made by them. Generations of young Pasifika, are now sitting alongside of non-Pasifika leaders to bring about transformational change to Pasifika communities in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Past student projects

In 2015 a programme that was co-designed to serve high schools in West Auckland was birthed. Last year (2019) saw the Tula'i Pasifika Youth Leadership Development programme impacting our 500th Pasifika student, their families and communities. Coronavirus interrupted 2020's programme, however the schools are wanting this year's potential cohort to initiate the new post-COVID era for Pasifika students-with-potential.

Tula’i Pasifika Youth Leadership programme helping Pacific students embrace their identity


Tula’i Coordinator Michelle Buchan with graduate Geoffrey Dufty

land Pasifika Forum and this year was led by Youth Horizons Kia Puawai.



MA (Hons)

Education/Academic qualification

Business, Bachelor, GDipBus, UNITEC Institute of Technology

1 Feb 200430 Jun 2007

Award Date: 30 Nov 2007

External positions

Kaitakawaenga, The University of Auckland

14 Feb 2022 → …


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Community Developmenent
  • Youth Development
  • Pacific & Maori youth
  • Youth at risk

Expertise Areas

  • Continuing and Community Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Vocational Education and Training Curriculum and Pedagogy
  • Educational Administration, Management and Leadership
  • Pacific Peoples Education
  • Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified


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