Sifa Taumoepeau, Group GM Government & Community Relations
You can picture him as a politician but that isn’t his chosen career. Rather, Sifa Taumoepeau leads government relations, corporate social responsibility and community affairs across SKYCITY Entertainment Group’s New Zealand and Australian operations.
As GM Government & Community Relations, Sifa’s role is a vital part of SKYCITY’s interest in wide ranging domestic policy settings that significantly influence the business environment. His work overlaps the regulatory, political and community areas to ensure SKYCITY minimises risk and create opportunities.
Born in Tonga, Sifa grew up in a typically extended family network. His family emigrated from the Pacific when he was 9 years old so he and his sisters could get an education in New Zealand. Educational attainment was held with high regard at home, so he went on to complete his tertiary studies at Victoria University of Welling, hence his “Hurricanes for life!” passion.
Having no idea what career to pursue, Sifa graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and applied for every available job. The first job he landed was as an Administrative Assistant in Parliament, but it was his move to a Senior Researcher role that defined the rest of his career. “Parliament is an intense and dynamic place. You work on issues and policy which have a profound effect on people”.
From Parliament, Sifa went on to work in large corporate organisations including Telecom, Todd Corporation, SKYCITY and Fonterra doing similar government relations and public policy work.
Sifa’s not a new face at SKYCITY... his first stint with the business was in 2004. He left in 2010 to take on a new challenge, but has returned twice since, making a total of 10 years with the company. When asked what kept attracting him back to SKYCITY he says, “Because of the people! It’s incredibly diverse, in every sense of the word. I’ve never worked in a more diverse work place. I keep getting drawn back here and that’s the biggest reason.”
There’s no doubt that Sifa has brought all this political knowledge and expertise into his role at SKYCITY. Travelling to and from Wellington is a big part of Sifa’s day job. And although he finds it a necessity as “it’s always good to interact with people face-to-face”, he secretly enjoys being back in his ‘Wellywood’ territory!
Like most jobs, there are rewards and challenges. “The reward is ensuring the business operates efficiently and sustainably by managing risks and creating opportunities.” The obvious challenge for him is dealing with issues that arise for customers such as gambling. “Having worked here for a reasonable amount of time and having been responsible for the host responsibility policies that exist, I know SKYCITY takes these seriously. We have to and we do.”
“I really like working for SKYCITY. The issues can be diverse and complex, but working together with my colleagues on these is extremely satisfying. We encountere some of the most interesting regulatory and legislative issues in New Zealand.”
We also asked Sifa the question everyone wants to know – will he ever pursue politics? “No. I think I’ll always be working on the outside” he says, which is why he’s very much suited to his role at SKYCITY.
But politics and work don’t completely consume Sifa’s life! He relaxes by spending time with family and friends as balance is important to him.
So if you ever need to discuss politics and ‘all’ things related, he’s the man to go to. And if you’re a first time-job seeker, Sifa has some great advice, “Don’t be scared of applying for jobs – you have nothing to lose. Start at the bottom if you have to. Work hard, show initiative and be proactive. These traits will yield results.”