- Publish Date
- Tuesday, 22 December 2015, 9:50AM
A Pasifika student from AUT has made an impassioned speech about overcoming adversity to graduate, with a video of the emotional moment now surpassing 75,000 views online.
Joshua Iosefo, a Bachelor of Communication Studies graduate of Samoan-Niuean descent from South Auckland, told the 2015 Design and Creative Technologies graduation ceremony that to walk across the stage and receive his degree was about "more than a piece of paper".
"We all have our own walk. We all come from different walks of life," he said.
"Whoever you are, wherever you've walked from, and wherever you're walking too, even if it's not walking, if it's hobbling or wheeling, I'm talking to you too."
His voice breaking, the 21-year-old tells his fellow students and friends what the day means to him.
"When we walk across this stage we are saying we did it. When we walk across this stage we made it ... When we walk across this stage some of us shut down statistics that say we would never have taken the first step."
The audience can be heard cheering throughout the speech, and after it was posted online dozens of commentators wrote in with their support.
"So happy and honoured to have you representing the Comms student body Joshua!" wrote Janelle Collins. "Your speech was incredibly moving, and I loved every second. South side proud."
It is not the first time Iosefo, a spoken word artist, has made waves with a speech. In 2012 while a schoolboy at Mt Roskill, he appeared on Campbell Live with a speech called "Brown Brother" in which he talked about the stereotypes about Pacific Islanders.
In it, he talked about his upcoming journey:
"Are we not more than fathers at the T.A.B? Are we not capable of attaining a Bachelor's, a Master's or a PhD? Brown brother, look at me.
"Brown brother, do not be afraid to be the first, the first to graduate, the first to climb, the first prime minister, or the first good wife -- brown brother, do not be afraid to be the change. Not in skin tone or colour, but a change in mindset. From one brown brother, to another."
Iosefo left AUT with a Bachelor of Communications majoring in television and screen production.