Helping Families (Kāinga) “Prosper"
Affirming Works run a family violence awareness programme that doesn’t teach families anything new, but it crucially reinforces what they already know. Translated to mean Prosperous Families, Kāinga Tu’umalie helps to prevent and restore families from violence by providing a safe space for them to strengthen relationships and identify key issues within their family unit to work on.
Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. - 3 John 1:2.
“We’ve seen the issue of anger and violence within our communities,” says Ikamafana (Ika) Tameifuna, one of Kāinga Tu’umalie’s programme facilitators (pictured left).
Tongan-born community leader Ika originally trained as a minister in Fiji and has worked in various leadership and community roles both in Tonga and New Zealand.
Such roles are dear to his heart because the issues are so prevalent within Pacific communities. It warms him to see communities bounce back and eliminate violence through management of anger.
Ika recalls a similar programme in the Samoan community (Peaceful waves- Galufati malie), where he saw how the elimination of violence through the management of anger helped others.
“I saw the positive change in the people the programme was delivered to.”
It led Ika and others to talk to the founder of Affirming Works, Emeline Afeaki-Mafile'o and her husband Alipate Mafile’o, about starting up the Kāinga Tu’umalie programme for the Tongan community.
“It was sad, because violence was not abating. It was increasing according to statistics, therefore we felt we must not let up from this and set up Kāinga Tu’umalie,” he says.
“We educate from the bottom up, to stop people from falling through the cracks.”
According to Tokilupe (Lupe) Pikula, Affirming Works’ Programme Manager (pictured right), the participants “follow a Tongan Cultural Conceptual Framework ‘Fofola e fala kae Talanoa e Kāinga’ which we use as a foundation of how we approach violence in families”.
Now in its third year of helping Tongan families to prevent violence and restore families from violence, Kāinga Tu’umalie approaches church leadership and works alongside them to create ‘enablers’.
While they focus on total transformation through their faith in the life changing influence of the Holy Spirit, or in other words ‘rehabilitation’, the aim is for the transformation to occur before any violence does.
Preventing violence through strong families is key.
Kāinga Tu’umalie aims to prevent violence before it happens.
“We ask the parents, ‘would you like us to work with your children after they’ve gone to jail?’ and the answer is always no.”
“And when we ask them which of them would like for us to work with their children to stop them from ever going to jail, everybody’s hands go up.”
The families chosen are taken on a three-day weekend retreat, followed by a series of eight sessions completed over four weeks, to complete and implement Kāinga Plans.
“We take a group of families out on a retreat for the weekend,” says Lupe, “It’s a three-day programme – and from there we run workshops.”
“That’s where the facilitators and enablers come in to conduct the programme delivery in the workshops.
“After each retreat, we create a kāinga plan for each family. Most of the goals and plans coming out of these kāinga are based around communication - strengthening relationships, employment and financial literacy,” Lupe advises.
“We stress and emphasise the importance of prosperity, going back to scripture where we talk about how God created us to be prosperous.”
Ika adds that it’s not just about money; it is about love, joy and happiness - all fruits of the spirit within a kāinga, upon which you build a solid foundation.
“Kāinga Tu’umalie isn’t an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. Our focus is promotion and prevention … coming in beforehand to try and see what a family can work from,” says Lupe.
“We cater to and accommodate the whole family, as it is key to have all family members working towards the same goal.”
The team is a blended group of people, enablers and facilitators from different community and public sectors, ethnic backgrounds and age groups coming together.
“They individually offer their own set of skills and professional training to the mix, adding to the success of the programme,” says Lupe.
“The facilitator’s experiences within the government, health and education sectors, especially in churches, create enablers- who are leaders in their communities.”
Kāinga Tu’umalie is branching out, thanks to a growing connection with various Pacific groups which, according to Lupe “is invaluable”.
“Initially, we were targeting just Tongans because it was an ethnic-specific programme, but that’s changing” Lupe says.
The programme was recently delivered to its first mixed-ethnicity families.
“Although the group was mostly Tongan, they were Tongans married to Samoans, Maori and other ethnicities. It was the first time the programme was delivered in English,” says Lupe.
“The programme has broader application to more than just one culture, for example New Zealand-born young people, who are unfamiliar with the Tongan conceptual cultural framework.
Kāinga Tu’umalie’s aim is to build strong families in churches, who in turn build strong communities.
Affirming Works stay in contact with participating families throughout the programme and afterwards, supporting them to achieve their kāinga plans and stay on track.
Lupe says the constant contact with families helps to transition them to Affirming Works’ Pasifika Power Up Plus Programme funded by the Ministry of Education.
“Like Kāinga Tu’umalie, it’s a whole family approach programme, aimed at helping families champion their learning because true transformation doesn’t happen in isolation,” says Lupe.
Ika and Lupe agree it’s important to maintain effective relationships and keep the families engaged to support them post-programme.
“It’s our shared responsibility to be building strong families, kāinga,” says Lupe.
“That creates a strong community that is working collectively towards a violence-free society.”
Pasefika Proud recently funded the latest Kāinga Tu’umalie programme which was run from 2-4th February 2018.
About Affiriming Works
Affirming Works provides services and support for the Pacific community in Auckland through a combination of mentoring services, programmes and social enterprise. Pacific for Pacific Provider.
Phone (09) 276 6838