Master Class (Day 2)

Main Stage (Day 1)

Day 1 Concurrent Sessions & Workshops

Andrew Fiu



13.30 – 14.30




14.05 – 14.50

Keynote Presentation and Onstage Interview


Inspiring Students in a Changing World

(Thursday workshop and Friday keynote presentation)


Not too long ago, teachers were the gatekeepers to information and answers. Today, students search the web to find them and answers are available at the tap of a finger not in response to a hand raised in the classroom. The resources to learn are abundant; it’s having the freedom to explore and making the decision to want to learn that’s limiting our children’s education in the classroom.

Teachers have an opportunity to persuade and inspire students to make that decision. To encourage, to push them to do better and to teach differently for those who have been raised with the internet, smartphones and tablets and with Google at their fingertips. Today’s students are innovative and creative. They multi-task and more often than not write their own rules. They see the future differently because it will be. To continue with the status quo is to ignore the future they are facing.

How do teachers teach creatively? How do they inspire the next generation when 50% of students in a recent study believe they don’t need a physical classroom? When many of the jobs they’ll be doing don’t exist today? Imagination, freedom and creativity play important roles in teaching today’s students.


About Andrew


Ta'afuli Andrew Fiu is author of the memoir Purple Heart, his account of growing up Samoan in New Zealand and of the years he spent in hospital coping with a serious heart condition under the care of famous cardiac surgeon Alan Kerr, following a bout of rheumatic fever as a teenager. He spent over four and a half years in hospital and has had a world record, six open-heart surgeries.


Purple Heart (Random House 2006) is in study for NCEA exams and has been an English study text since 2007 throughout New Zealand. As its popularity and usage amongst schools and colleges grew, Andrew’s demand as a speaker and motivator nationwide increased. He is also in demand as a motivational speaker for big business most recently in America and Singapore.


Andrew was born in Lefaga, Matautu, a small province of Apia in Western Samoa and immigrated to New Zealand with his family when he was three years old. His own parents had little schooling and while Andrew’s high school years were interrupted with long bouts spent in hospital, he found himself surrounded by a multitude of elderly storytelling patients. Hospital is where he learnt that life could always be worse but was also a place where the human spirit can overcome adversity. His natural sense of humour has endeared him to students nationwide and remains a talent that is genuinely appreciated when addressing large student numbers and retelling stories of bouts of enforced solitude and experiencing death on two separate occasions.

He attributes his years in hospital to building the positive habits that led him to start a media and design company without any formal education. After co-founding and establishing Pacific Mango Media and Design, he wrote his memoir. He has a passion for promoting education and is dedicated to lifting the educational aspirations of high-school-aged children especially those in the lower socio-economic areas of Australia and New Zealand. He is a member of the New Zealand Book Council's Writers in Schools program.


He believes that in order to increase the receptiveness of students to learning, we need to change the approach. “Many teachers may disagree with me but I believe if we are not enthusiastic and excited about what and how we teach, then how can we expect the students to be excited to learn? I know if I haven’t captured their attention within three minutes, then I don’t deserve their time.”


The Weekend Herald's Canvas magazine wrote: ‘Written with verve and humour, Purple Heart is a revelation.’ David Eggleton in The New Zealand Listener, singled it out as one of the year's best memoirs of 2006, praising its humour, light touch, and lack of self-pity.

In Metro, Warwick Roger hailed ‘an interesting new voice’ and praised how ‘the Polynesian humour shine[s] through … on nearly every page.’ City Mix called it ‘culturally illuminating, often philosophical, and endearingly honest’ and Spasifik magazine wrote: ‘With the seductive humour of a Samoan story teller, Andrew Fiu's first writing effort is one that should not go unnoticed.’