Doing It Right in the First Place



Eddie Tuiavii (pictured) likes to live by his late grandmother’s motto of, “Do it right in the first place, or don't do it at all," which is precisely the attitude he will take into his new role as First Foundation’s Alumni Programme Manager. 

Wellington born and Auckland raised, Eddie was the apple of his grandmother’s eye, and she is the one he owes his love of people, passion for service, and heart of gold to, he says. 

“I'm the middle child of five siblings and naturally it means the spotlight is fixed on me,” he quips. “I like to think I run the family from the middle, when, in all reality, my Mum still makes me eat humble pie on the daily.”  

Eddie attended the University of Auckland, where he completed his Master of Public Policy and has since become the face of the University of Auckland's Public Policy Programme. His expertise spans political studies, sociology, education reform and critical thinking. Along with working at First Foundation, Eddie will remain working closely with the Resource Management Act as a Senior Hearings Advisor at Auckland Council. 

A former First Foundation Scholar, Eddie says he is a people person in every sense of the trait and applying for the Alumni Programme Manager role was a no-brainer.  

“My years as a First Foundation Scholar were an important time in my tertiary life. Looking back, it was such a pity that is where the journey ended; as soon as the undergraduate phase was over, there was no formalised space for giving back. In fact, there wasn't even a loose, informal space where alumni could get together and figure out the ‘where to now’ part of the journey.”

When he saw the newly created Alumni Programme Manager role advertised, he felt he had to apply.  

As this is a brand new role at First Foundation, one of the first tasks is to develop a strategic programme for the Foundation's alumni, Eddie explains.

“In a day and age where we're all so time-poor and selective about what we devote our time and attention to, it will be interesting to see just how unconventional, and yet innovative, interaction and engagement with alumni will be in the coming months. At the end of the day, the alumni network possesses a huge amount of untapped and underutilised skill.”

Eddie brings extensive experience to the role, having worked as the Public Affairs Coordinator for the United States Embassy, managing the Ambassador's Youth Councils across New Zealand, and looking after the Alumni, Fellowships, Education and Exchanges Portfolio. 

“This experience - coupled with a lengthy involvement in connecting with alumni all around the world for an international peace and democracy foundation based in the United States - has given me valuable foresight into the world of alumni.

“I also bring quite a unique insight to the role as an alumnus of the First Foundation (Class of 2007), which makes me super proud and stoked to be filling this position.”

Eddie says when he hears “emerging leaders” mentioned, First Foundation alumni are the kinds of inspirational folk that spring to mind.

“First Foundation alumni are spanning boundaries, smashing goals, and paving the way for so many aspiring Kiwis to dream big and take to the world stage by storm. I hope to raise their profile, tell their story, and continue to share and celebrate their various successes, so current First Foundation Scholars are able to draw energy, passion, and excitement from such amazing examples.”

Contact Eddie Tuiavii at to learn about the Alumni Programme.

“First Foundation alumni are spanning boundaries, smashing goals, and paving the way for so many aspiring Kiwis to dream big and take to the world stage by storm."