K’aute Pasifika Village Opens in The Heart of Kirikiriroa

When impossible becomes possible and finally a reality with the opening of the K’aute Pasifika Village in Hamilton. Over 1500 people from across Aotearoa and the broader Pacific Region gathered to celebrate the momentous opening of the first stage of K’aute Pasifika’s Village, in Kirikiriroa in January 2023.

Photo: K'aute Pasifka Village (credit K'aute Pasefika)

More than twenty years in the making, the day which K’aute Pasifika Trust CEO Rachel Karalus said had been a long time coming happened in January.

The Village, a first of its kind in Aotearoa, will provide Pasifika-focused needs including an early learning centre, wellbeing services and a fale (meeting house) as well as GP and other clinical services and will serve around 21,000 Pasifika people.

The original idea was conceived by Pacific people in the area in the mid to late 1990s when they met to try to find out why the community was not accessing mainstream health services.

K’aute Pasifika Trust was the direct result of these meetings, with a vision to create a dynamic, healthy, educated Pacific community living to its full potential.

Photo: Leaupepe Elisapeta Karalus (middle)

At the forefront was Leaupepe Elisapeta Karalus, the mother of current Trust CEO Rachel, with ‘Peta’, as she is known to many, herself being a former Trust CEO.

Peta always had ‘’a deep concern’’ that people were not able to access services and helped push what others called “Peta’s vision” in the two decade-plus effort to get the village up and running.

“I’ve always felt that serving people and helping them was, I guess, my purpose in life. I always had a deep concern about people who were not able to access services that existed at the time, we felt that we needed to do something and that was really the beginning,” she said.

“(The) idea came to a head, I started talking to people who I thought could help out ... we worked hard towards it, and to just see it.... it is my belonging.”

Photo: K’aute Pasifika Trust CEO, Rachel Karalus

Rachel said they had reached the day that had ‘’long been dreamed of and ... been hard fought for’’.

She said the journey had not been straightforward or linear, but she believed her role was “my God-given purpose” and gave her an identity as a Pacific person..

‘’There have been many times over the years when the challenges and barriers seemed insurmountable ... ‘no’s’ that needed to be converted to ‘yesses’, people who needed persuading that we had the credibility and capability around us to achieve the vision and the aspiration,” she said at the official opening of the Village.

‘’What has remained strong is our faith and our gratitude for every single opportunity. With this faith and gratitude, the impossible has become possible and then the possible has become reality – we have a voice, we have been heard and we are valued.’’

She said the village is a collective achievement of central and local government, Tangata Whenua, and the philanthropic, business, and broader communities.

‘’This Village is a living example of what is possible when we all work together to achieve a shared vision for the betterment of all,’’’ she said.

‘’K’aute Pasifika seeks to become the beating heart of a regional movement that continues to drive equitable outcomes for our people.’’

With the opening of the Hamilton Village the Trust is now keen to launch a similar project in Tokoroa, which has the densest population of Pasifika in Waikato.

More about K’aute Pasifika – Website kautepasifika.co.nz  | Facebook facebook.com/Kautepasifika


Pasefika Proud works in partnership with communities to support ethnic-specific leadership and action that provides pathways to achieve our vision: Pacific families and communities are safe, resilient and enjoy wellbeing.

Pathways for Change 2019–2023