Doing it the Pasefika Way
Samoan Congregational Minister of EFKS Hornby, Reverend Fitifiti Luatua, draws on his experience from more than 30 years living in New Zealand and serving God as an ordained minister.
“Family violence, abuse of women and children, sexual abuse, drugs and alcohol, suicide, are not mere issues at all. Whether we like it or not, these things happen within surroundings where people live and operate,” he said.
“We need to understand the dynamics of how and why these things occur. We need to be aware of the impacts on our people mentally, physically and spiritually.”
He spoke of the excitement and the challenges faced by Pacific families moving to New Zealand.
“The process of leaving the security and comfort of one’s family and village back home, and moving to NZ is a major transition,“ he said.
“When someone arrives in NZ, [pressures build] – simple things like accommodation…paying board or rent…power bills, doctors and healthcare, insurance, school expenses…leisure time, church obligations… the father and mother are working seven days and nights a week. What about the use of alcohol, drugs, gambling?” he said.
“Through my many years of ministry experience, these are the main roots to violence, abuse, sexual abuse and the many problems that affect our families and children.”
He called for more support for Pacific families living in New Zealand.
“This highlights the need for in-depth real immigration preparations for our people before they leave our countries, and the need for ongoing educational and pastoral support when they settle here,” he said.
The Reverend acknowledged the opportunity for delegates coming together at the Fono, and asked them to put aside their differences and work together.
“We must be grateful that we are part of the discussions, for what is the best possible outcomes, in this case for our vulnerable families….We will engage with the decision-makers to what will work best to improve outcomes for our vulnerable Pacific families, and to assure them the protection opportunities they deserve,” he said.
“This is not about me or about yourself, not about the Fijians or Samoans or Tongans. It’s about our Pacific people….We are all aware of our many differences, but that should not stop us from working together.”
He called on the group of Pacific leaders to draw on the cultural and spiritual values, and work together in their unique Pacific way.
“We need to connect and act collaboratively for the best of our vulnerable families and children. And such a call requires us to visit our cultural and spiritual values,” he said.
“How do we do it? The Pasefika way. We work together. Working collaboratively is based on the theological foundation of the vision of the church as the community of God’s people.”