Leading the Way to a Better Future

For a good number of years TOA (Treasure Older Adults) Pacific has been to the forefront of caring and advocating for our matua (elders).

Part of the community grounded backbone of the service is the primary prevention Aiga Leadership programme, which aims to prompt, and encourage, users of violence to focus and value their leadership role in the family, and in the life and wellbeing of those affected by the violence.

It was developed using Nga Vaka O Kainga Tapu cultural framework and pooling ideas with social workers and emulates the ethos of Pacific cultural faith through a holistic approach. The TOA Pacific work is vital in Aotearoa, given the number of people aged 65 and over is expected  to almost double to 1.2 million over the next decade or so.

The programme is also aimed at hard-to-reach Pacific people through home visits, follow-ups, listening, responding, and delivering services that are safe, non-judgemental and in language that can be understood.

Malia Hamani, the CEO of TOA Pacific, said while Aiga Leadership is for users of violence it also helps those at the other end of the spectrum who are looking for love, leadership, and support in the situation they are in.

She said the programme is tailored to each individual situation, but would usually start with a couple of sessions, more if needed, for users of violence.

‘’Elder abusers, for example, receive the programme in a specially tailored format, especially when the victim has dementia, I am using AL on an elder abuse case currently,’’ Malia said.

‘’TOA’s service delivery model, Fofola Ola, is also applied and involves meetings with all key individuals – the Aiga Leadership practitioner, those suffering violence, if possible, support professionals and matua support.’’

She said the outcome was measured by simply asking ‘’how better off is the situation and those concerned’’.

Feedback also plays a crucial part in the Aiga Leadership programme.

Malia said there were a few recent examples of late that really highlighted the importance/success of the programme.

The first concerned a family that experienced a positive change in the father/husband of the family.

At first the man concerned was reluctant to be supported by a female practitioner, but he eventually welcomed the intervention along with his family’s support.

In the second a woman asked a practitioner to work with her husband.

‘’After the session with the husband he was (more) confident and delved into his leadership qualities that were nurturing, supportive and loving rather than choosing to react violently,’’ Malia said.

Malia’s work with TOA was acknowledged by Age Concern late last year with a Huia award.

The awards are an annual celebration of New Zealand’s older residents and the people who support them and make a positive difference to their lives.

A modest Malia tried to brush off the praise, preferring to thank family and colleagues for their support over many years.

‘’My passion is people and making sure they have a connection to their culture,’’ she said.

‘’Making sure that the services we provide are fit for Pacific peoples and cultures is very important.’’

Pasefika Proud have valued relationship with the organisation which can be measured over several years as TOA Pacific is widely acknowledged as the only specialised provider of services and support to the older Pacific community in Auckland and across Aotearoa.

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Treasuring Our Older Adults


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.

CLICK HERE to read Pasefika Proud Pathways for Change