Shining a Light of Hope
As lead contributor to the Tokelau content in the Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu Framework document and a part of both the Tokelau and Tuvalu National Community Minister for the Presbyterian Church of NZ, Rev Linda Teleo Hope provides a unique perspective.
“I’ve been working with our communities in a voluntary capacity for such a long period of time, and we believed the work we did towards the Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu Framework was ground-breaking in so many ways,” says Linda.
Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu: A Pacific Conceptual Framework to address family violence in New Zealand was launched by the Ministry of Social Development in 2012.
As the lead contributor to the Tokelau content in the Framework document, and being a part of both the Tokelau and Tuvalu National Community Minister for the Presbyterian Church of NZ, Linda feels more documents are needed.
“We were able to bring our competencies in our languages to the fore – focusing on the key relationships with an aim of restoring them within families,” says Linda.
“Of course there’s challenges because of the perpetrators, but who will take them apart from us? How well prepared are we and how do we address these issues?”
Particularly, Linda adds, when some elders and so-called leaders are part of the problem. She believes too many subjects are regarded as taboo and the time is now for families and communities to confront them.
“That’s why I’m so passionate about the research we’ve done. We’re shining a light in an area filled with so much darkness.”
Rev Linda also found hope for Pacific communities in the positive way that churches and social service providers have engaged through Pasefika Proud Fono opportunities.
“One of the biggest outcomes for me was the desire to collaborate, particularly between faith and social service providers. Instead of protecting our little piece of the pie there was a genuine feeling of wanting to talk and share,” she says.
“We got an inkling of the power of what God’s love can do and attending [a Pasefika Proud Fono] was totally worthwhile. All I ask is for respect of our work and our intellect and appreciate what we have accomplished as small communities.”