Mia was born in Catarman, Northern Samar, where she lived until migrating to New Zealand with her parents in 2009. If a picture paints a thousand words then so be it

Mia was born in Catarman, Northern Samar, where she lived until migrating to New Zealand with her parents in 2009. She left behind one sister, Mika (featured in Vol. 7 No. 55) and her young niece.

Mia initially disliked New Zealand; after a happy and sociable childhood in the Philippines she felt uncomfortable with her English and even had to ask her mother to speak on her behalf at shop counters.

Soon after her arrival in New Zealand Mia started on a degree course in sports and exercise science.

At the same time she was working part-time as front-of-house at Turo-Turo in Glen Innes, where she became the favourite of many regulars.

Turo-Turo was also where she gained her confidence in speaking English and dabbled in modeling for some of the cafe’s advertising and posters.

After completing her degree Mia found work as a Membership Coordinator at Next Generation Club in Auckland Domain.

In 2013 many of Mia’s friends and relatives were affected by the tragedy of Yolanda, sharpening her desire to visit her home again, which she hasn’t seen now for half a decade.

What’s next? Mia hopes to study again, this time in the arts or business, and to travel – back to the Philippines, but also to explore New Zealand, the country she now calls her new home.

Text and photos by: Rew Shearer

Mel Fernandez