Honouring our Elders
The Tuaāsinasina o Ranui programme hosted and launched at the Ranui Pacific Island Presbyterian Church on March 18 2021 stems from within its West Auckland Samoan parish community.
The dna within members of the Ranui Pacific Island Presbyterian Church (PIPC) are well recognised among its parishioners, headed by the Reverend Minister Ieriko Afamasaga. They had reason to rejoice as its congregation gathered to celebrate the launch of the Tuaāsinasina programme at the church’s Leuatea Hall.
“The Tuaāsinasina programme is predominantly for the elderly. Tuaā means parents and Sinasina means elderly,” says the Reverend.
“It’s a blessing why we named the programme as such. Sometimes in the past our elders have been left out, forgotten, but I believe they still have so much to offer. We want to bring them together with our youth, so all of us can share our stories together and learn from each other. Due to the Covid epidemic it was hard maintaining those connections.”
The church rallied around to secure use of a van, enabling the elderly to be picked up from their homes to attend the programme and dropped back home after the programme. The van also enables transportation of the elders for special outings.
“We don’t want our elderly to be stuck in their homes,” he says.
They just love gathering together, seeing their young ones performing in song and dance and sharing their talanoa, so it’s important we maintain that,” adds the Reverend.
One of the Tuaāsinasina committee members, Lilomaiava Yvonne Timaloa, says that “due to Covid-19, the last year has been really challenging, where our elderly need social cohesion for their holistic wellbeing, which includes physical, spiritual, emotional and mental wellbeing.”
“In addition, some of the elderly were also digitally excluded from connecting with the church community online, especially for church services and meetings where there was limited wifi-capability or knowledge on how to connect.”
Regardless of the barriers, Yvonne knows there’s plenty of resilience within the church.
“We have an elderly programme which provides holistic wellbeing for our most vulnerable. We see this as a time to honour our past as well as the heritage of those who worked tirelessly to establish the church and community.”
While the programme mainly targets the Samoan elderly community, as it’s facilitated in the Samoan language, Reverend Ieriko says it’s open to any elderly person living in the Ranui and surrounding local areas. It also invites relevant government agencies, social support and services to help provide to the elderly.
Reverend Ieriko Afamasaga and his church community are very appreciative of the MSD COVID Community Capability and Resilience Funding for helping to establish the Pacific elderly programme. The joy and excitement expressed by the Pacific elders attending the programme has been very heart-warming and priceless for the programme team to witness. The programme helps to honour and give back to these Pacific pioneers who have endured hardships and worked hard to establish a life for their families in Aotearoa New Zealand. Reverend Ieriko also wants to acknowledge and thank Marie Schmidt from MSD for her support and invaluable advice.
To register, you must complete a registration form which is available from the church at 35 Armada Drive, Ranui or you can email programme co-ordinator Ali’itasi Afamasaga at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the church office on 09 833 5127.
“Pe a oo ina loa le soifua o se tasi, pe a oo foi ina ulusina se tasi;
o a’u lava out e tauave i ate oe”
Even when you’re old, I’ll take care of you.
Even when your hair turns gray I’ll support you.
I made you and will continue to care for you
Pasefika Proud Pathways for Change 2019 - 2023
Pasefika Proud is a social change movement – ‘by Pacific for Pacific’ – to boost wellbeing for Pacific families and transform attitudes, behaviours and norms that enable violence. Our name and strapline embody our strengths-based, community-led approach.
Pasefika Proud Vision: Pacific families and communities are safe, resilient and enjoy wellbeing through social connections, healthy and happy lifestyles, cultural identity, personal security and safety, spirituality.
Pasefika Proud change strategies: mobilising pacific communities + capability development + strategic priorities.
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Pasefika Proud: Our Families, Our People, Our Responsibility