Vijay Pillay

Te Whatu Kairangi Award | Le Moana Mua

A phenomenal educator helping Pacific learners to dream big

Vijay Pillay is Pacific Healthcare Tutor in the Healthcare Programme | New Zealand Skills and Education College.

Vijay is a Pacific healthcare tutor who embraces a Pacific-centred, Fonofale model of teaching. She includes emotional, psychological, spiritual, mental, social and physical dimensions of a person to her teaching, while creating a family-like environment. Carefully weaving cultural practice and awareness into the ‘norm’, she ensures Pasifika students feel respected and have a sense to belonging.

Vijay has received awards for her work in Diversional Therapy, and outstanding tutor awards in 2020 and 2023 at NZSE. She understands the care needed for Pasifika to thrive in their education journey. One learner commented, “Her ability to sense if one of us was struggling and she would step in to help, not only in class but with our daily personal lives as well.”

Her dedication to Pacific student success and commitment to improving as an educator has gained her recognition as a phenomenal educator by the review panel. Her work across the community includes delivering health programmes and trainings with Pacific staff at aged care facilities in Auckland, advocating health career pathways to Pacific students at local secondary schools and connecting with Pacific community groups for learner placements. She challenges Pacific students to dream big.

Read Vijay Pillay's profile »


[The criteria for the Le Moana Mua Award are based on Chu-Fuluifaga and Ikiua-Pasi’s (2021) research on phenomenal educators for Pacific learners.]

[Chu-Fuluifaga, C., & Ikiua-Pasi, J. (2021). From good to great: The 10 habits of phenomenal educators for Pacific learners in New Zealand tertiary education. Ako Aotearoa. Available from]

Video Gallery

Vijay Pillay - Recipient of a 2023 Te Whatu Kairangi Award | Le Moana Mua