The event, believed to be the first of its kind in the South Island, was so popular that the free buses provided were filled well in advance.
The Ministry of Social Development’s employee-led Pasifika staff network, SoutherNesian, performed to wrap up the formal opening where attendees were encouraged by Pacific Trust Otago chief executive Nimo Elisara-Too to be their authentic selves and dream big.
"Dream big because there’s a village of people that have come here because you matter."
Former Manu Samoa rugby captain Filipo Levi revved up the crowd and told them that the key to approaching life was to "roar" (relationships, own it, attitude and respect).
Attendees were then free to visit the career villages which included virtual reality headsets, a flooring industry training trailer, a film set-up complete with boom-mic and camera and the Inzone careers bus.
Ministry of Social Development labour market manager Emma Hamilton said the event had been long in the making.
"Work began on this event back in 2021 so it is great to see it finally happen," she said.
"What an amazing turnout, especially as there was no school today.
"The young people have turned up because they are interested in their next steps. We hope that this can become an annual event."
The event was designed with input from youth attending the Pacific Trust Otago’s holiday programme.
It had support from the Ministry of Social Development along with Pacific Trust Otago, Connected, Otago Community Trust, Workforce Central, Ministry of Education, My Next Move, Business South, Internal Affairs and Mercy Hospital.