A Milestone of Hope: Celebrating the Graduation of the Seuga Programme

Pasefika Proud-sponsored initiative, Seuga, is making a powerful impact, supporting Pacific families in Christchurch to overcome family violence. Recently, this transformative programme celebrated the graduation of its latest cohort, marking a significant milestone in their journey of healing and empowerment.

Graduates from Aviva Seuga programme

Graduates from Aviva Seuga programme

Run by Aviva, Seuga covers mental health, culture, family, law, physical health, and spirituality relating to Pacific people. It also offers support to the partners and children of those engaged in the programme.

The aim of Seuga is to provide Pasifika men with the tools and education to change behaviours and stop the use of violence. This gives their children the chance to grow up in homes free of violence, breaking the intergenerational cycle. Seuga Service Development Manager, Nicky Soafai emphasised the programme's cultural significance, saying, "It’s about finding the right way to live in New Zealand and fostering a healthy wellbeing for our Pacific people."

At the recent graduation ceremony, there was a palpable sense of achievement and hope. Nicky highlighted the service’s success in fostering significant improvements across several areas, including:

  • Rates of family harm: Graduates demonstrated a marked reduction in incidents of family violence, showcasing the programme's effectiveness in promoting safer family environments. 
  • Sense of fa’asinomaga (identity): Participants reported a strengthened sense of identity and self-worth, crucial for personal development and community integration. 
  • Reconnection with family and culture: The programme facilitated a deeper connection with  the vā, family and cultural roots, providing participants with a solid foundation for personal growth. 
  • Breaking down societal barriers: Graduates were better equipped to navigate and thrive within New Zealand society, overcoming obstacles that previously hindered their progress.

Nicky emphasised the importance of addressing family violence within Pacific communities, noting the cultural sensitivities and challenges involved. He stated,

"Family violence is something people find hard to talk about, even in the community churches, so the programme is a way of giving support to those who may benefit from it. He also highlighted the deep personal transformations occurring within the participants.

"They all sit back, and they look and say, uh, wow. I never saw my behaviour that way," said Nicky. "Sometimes they just say it's their behaviour without us asking them. They identify the behaviour, acknowledge it, understand the emotions behind it, and that changes their mindset."

The impact of these discussions extends beyond the sessions.

"They bond over these discussions, and it's turning them around from the inside out.

“They completely change their mindset to the point where they no longer respond back with anger when the Mrs. is angry, or the kids are making a lot of noise," Sofai added.

This recent graduation is not merely a conclusion but a new beginning for the graduates and Seuga itself. It stands as a beacon of hope, illustrating the profound impact of culturally sensitive, comprehensive support systems. As Seuga continues to evolve and adapt to meet the needs of Pacific communities in New Zealand, it reaffirms its commitment to fostering resilience, empowerment, and lasting change.

One graduate eloquently captured the essence of the programme, stating,

“It gives me the understanding of myself, my culture and how life works.”

Another shared how much the service has helped them, and their family grow closer and stronger,

“Yes, very helpful and it helped me to give up alcohol and keep me away from the wrong people. It also brought me and my family back together”.

Aviva Seuga team

The collaboration with Pasefika Proud has been instrumental in the programme’s success. Their commitment to promoting strong, resilient Pacific families aligns seamlessly with Seuga’s mission. A representative from Pasefika Proud expressed pride in the graduates’ achievements, stating,

“It was an honour to be present at the Seuga graduation, celebrating and bearing witness to the graduates who raved about the programme and its positive impact on their lives. It was an emotional event to say the least, especially when hearing directly from the graduates (sometimes emotional themselves), and their loved ones who further express their gratitude for the programme and its impact. One graduate’s partner said she was interested in attending Seuga in the future which I found a great testament to what Seuga has to offer. Overall, it was an honour for Pasefika Proud to be there and have a small part in supporting the Seuga journey.” 

In celebrating this milestone, we honour the resilience and strength of the graduates and acknowledge the vital role of programmes like Seuga, supported by Pasefika Proud, in building brighter futures for our diverse communities.

Graduates get to share their experiences with the service to their families and audiences in attendance, as the graduation ceremonies are a testament to the programme's success and community support.

“After they share,” Nicky says, “we then open the floor to all their families, supporters, friends that have been on this journey with them.

“A lot of our graduation ceremonies, almost everyone in the room takes a turn to say something because they all wanted to say what they witnessed, how they witnessed," shared Nicky.

Much of the feedback comes not only from the people who attended but also from the families they live with, because they see the change in the family.


  • Call Aviva on (03) 378 3847 or 0800 AVIVA NOW (0800 28482 669) - 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for people in Canterbury
  • For information about Seuga, call Nicky on 027 514 4027

Also of interest: 

Breaking the Circle of Family Violence 

Stopit Campaign Highlights Family Harm and Sexual Violence

Pasefika Proud Principles - The following principles support and guide our work:

Community-led– supporting communities to identify their own needs, and design and lead their own solutions. Community leadership happens at all levels – including in homes, churches and sport and cultural settings. Pasefika Proud taps into and nurtures those community leaders, influencers and role models who are able to inspire and support positive change.

Strengths based– drawing on Pacific cultural values to strengthen communities, build resilience and keep Pacific peoples safe. Focusing on assets and dispelling the myth that family violence is part of our various Pacific cultures. This helps to open doors that would otherwise be closed to conversations about family violence.

‘Ethnic-specific for Pacific’– working intentionally in an ethnic-specific way to support the development of community-owned, culturally appropriate solutions. Experience and evidence to date suggest that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not as effective as one that derives from unique cultural frameworks and strengths.

Diversity / Inclusion– recognising that Pacific peoples in New Zealand are incredibly diverse in terms of culture, ethnicity, migration experience, age, gender, location and many other factors. Acknowledging and understanding our diversity helps us to be more inclusive.

Evidence based– building expertise and an evidence base on what supports positive change / transformation that prevents violence within Pacific families and communities.

Education / Skills focused– supporting knowledge and skills acquisition that builds confidence and capability within Pacific families, communities and services.

Sustainability– acknowledging the complexities and intergenerational impacts of family violence and focusing on realistic solutions that help to embed and sustain social change at the community level.

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