National Pacific Practitioners’ Fono

The two-day Fono was held in Auckland on Thursday 6th and Friday 7th July for non-governmental organisations (NGO) and community practitioners working in the areas of family violence and/or sexual violence. The event was organised by Practitioners for Practitioners and supported by Te Puna Aonui.

The purpose of the fono was to bring together Pacific practitioners’ of family violence and/or sexual violence prevention throughout Aotearoa to talanoa and connect, strengthen and enable those working in the areas of FVSV, to build regional communities of practice and support, and to better understand the connection to Te Aorerekura Strategy shifts and action points with the aim of making an enduring impact to the wellbeing of the Pacific community. 

The Hon. Marama Davidson, Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence was the keynote speaker and spoke of weaving knowledge and actions together in relation to the Te Aorerekura strategy. Emma Powell, Chief Executive, Te Puna Aonui introduced and spoke about Te Aorerekura the National Strategy to eliminate family violence and sexual violence. Judge Ida Malosi, Principal Youth Court Judge spoke on building confidence towards innovative responses in restorative pathways. Kyla Rayner, GM Wellington Rape Crisis Centre introduced Practitioner Wellbeing throughout the Fono. Aliímumu Sandra Alofivae MNZM, Chair, South Auckland Social Wellbeing Board spoke on a critical look at how we ensure Pacific voices count to drive change across the system. Serena Curtis General Manager, Pacific and Community Capability Programmes, Ministry of Social Development was one of 3 presenters discussing a strategic view of workforce development across the sectors. 

The Hon. Marama Davidson, Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence

The Minister for the prevention of family violence and sexual violence represented the Government at the Fono and covered the theme of 'weaving knowledge and actions together' in relation to the Te Aorerekura strategy. 

Ms Davidson told a receptive audience that it was an honour to be seated at the table with people she described as ‘’incredible heroes’’ which included ‘’many, many Pacific champions’’. READ MORE 

Emma Powell, Chief Executive, Te Puna Aonui

Billed as being “by practitioners, for practitioners”, the main focus of the Fono was to strengthen connections among Pacific practitioners and create a shared understanding of Te Aorerekura - National Strategy to Eliminate Family and Sexual Violence

One of the first speakers at the Fono was Emma Powell, Chief Executive of Te Puna Aonui, who told the participants she was happy to be back in South Auckland where her career had started.  READ MORE


Judge Ida Malosi, Principal Youth Court Judge

Judge Ida Malosi, the country’s first female Pasefika judge, spoke at length about building confidence towards innovative responses in restorative pathways.

She pointed out that with so many Maori and Pasefika politicians in Aotearoa these days, the time was right to get things done.

This is a really challenging space that we occupy and there is still so much work to do,’’ Judge Malosi said. READ MORE


Ali'ímuamua Sandra Alofivae MNZM

Ali’imuamua Sandra Alofivae, MNZM, Chair of the South Auckland Social Wellbeing Board was another to speak early on the first day of the Fono. Her topic was a critical look at how to ensure Pacific voices count to drive change across the system. 

She described the coming together at the Fono as ‘’the dawning of a new day’’ and a chance to reflect, revisit and recalibrate the collective and unique Pasefika responses to family and sexual violence in 2023 and moving forward.  READ MORE


Serena Curtis General Manager, Pacific and Community Capability Programmes, Ministry of Social Development

Ms Curtis spoke to the Fono on the contribution the Ministry of Social Development was making to Te Aorerekura and used the example of COVID as a way of getting things done. While it wasn’t perfect, she said we all did ‘’incredibly well’’ to work together to support our Pacific people. During the pandemic we were able to get a lot of Pacific mobilisation and activities led by Pacific for Pacific and now we need to continue to build on these things. READ MORE


Kyla Rayner, GM Wellington Rape Crisis Centre

As the National Pacific Practitioners Fono commenced, participants heard from the General Manager of the Wellington Rape Crises Centre, Kyla Rayner, who has worked in the survivor space across family and sexual violence for many years.

Ms Rayner reminded all attendees that they were considered to be ‘’our greatest asset’’ and ‘’biggest treasure’’ in the work taking place and their wellbeing was important. READ MORE


Numerous workshops were presented by several Pacific leaders in their respective fields relating to the Elimination of Family Violence and Sexual Violence.

Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu– addressing family violence through Pacific cultural frameworks

Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu is a Pacific community developed, owned and mandated conceptual framework that underpins Pasefika Proud (encompassing eight ethnic-specific cultural frameworks).

A panel discussion showcased the eight ethnic specific cultural frameworks designed by communities for communities to build the capability of practitioners to address family violence. First designed in 2012, presenters discussed how the training continues to be fit for purpose in an evolving and increasingly diverse Pacific population in Aotearoa and the learnings over ten years of delivery and evaluation. The eight frameworks are Fofola e Fala ka Talanoa e Kainga (Tonga)  |  O le Tōfā Mamao (Samoa)  |  Turanga Māori (Cook Islands)  |  Vuvale Doka Sautu (Fiji)  |  Ko Fakatupuolamoui he tau Magafaoa Niue (Niue)  |  Toku Fou Tiale (Tuvalu)  |  Boutokaan te mweeraoi (I-Kiribati)  |  Kāiga Māopopo (Tokelau)

Presenters – Nga Vaka facilitators and The Cause Collective for Pasefika Proud.

Tapasa mo aiga saili manuia – family compass in search of peace

E fofo le alamea le alamea, a family’s approach to dealing with past trauma of sexual violence as the first respondent healers. With the convergence of western and indigenous knowledge, the ability for families to believe that they can heal within their families has been diluted. Sexual violence within families has unfortunately become the norm within Aotearoa, and instead of our indigenous ways leading the way in healing, we have enabled the State to take the dominant space and place of our families. In a film Loimata, The Sweetest Tears, the Siope family share a glimpse into their aiga indigenous ways of healing and dealing with sexual violence, violence, and displacement of identity as a family. They demonstrate ‘e fofo le alamea le alamea within their tapasa mo aiga (family compass). It is a praxis which the aiga have consciously lived out on the land of their ancestors and now as diaspora within Aotearoa. The presentation aimed to share lived experiences of hurt, hope and healing when a family (re)claims their indigenous ways of being via their tapasa mo aiga.

Presenters – Pastor Dr Paul Muamai Vui-Siope, Leatuavao Rebekah Rimoni, Fuimaono Tuimafuiva Fetaui Iosefo and Fuimaono Tuimafuiva Leah Purea  

She Is Not Your Rehab

Matt is a New Zealand-born Samoan author and renowned communicator who works to eradicate domestic violence by supporting those who perpetrate violence to heal. A survivor of family violence and childhood sexual abuse himself, he originally started his domestic violence advocacy work by sharing his story with the men who frequented his busy barbershops to foster vulnerability, healing, and connection. Matt believes his true calling lies in his work to redefine society’s view of masculinity and to help end the cycle of domestic violence plaguing families all over the world. For over a decade, Matt has hosted free men’s anti-violence support groups from locations like barbershops, construction sites, gang pads, prisons, and in indigenous spaces. He has facilitated multiple programs inside men’s and youth prisons and was named a Corrections NZ patron in 2020. Since 2018, Matt and his wife Sarah have partnered with the Ministry of Social Development It’s not OK programme to develop and launch an app InnerBoy to promote accessible healing for indigenous men. Together the couple co-founded She Is Not Your Rehab and launched the concept in Matt’s 2019 TEDx talk. He says the movement is an invitation for men to acknowledge their own childhood trauma and to take responsibility for their healing so that they can transform their pain instead of transmitting it on those around them. They released their first book; New Zealand’s #1 bestseller She Is Not Your Rehab.

Presenter – Taimalelagi Mataio (Matt) Brown MNZM
- She is not your rehab
APP - innerBoy
One Word - Pasefika Proud Editorial
Barbershop where men go to heal - Pasefika Proud Editorial

Navigating by Va

As Pasifika, we are descendants of epic navigators who traversed the largest ocean in the world. Our ancestors were not only prolific navigators of the seas, but also great navigators of the Va, the relational space. In our Pasifika oratory, you realise the importance of words, and that there is much emphasis and focus on choosing the right word for the right occasion and time, to ensure that our words land well, and that they convey our heart and intention. This workshop examined the application of the Va as our compass to navigate relationships and bring together all of who we are into the Family Harm sector. The application of a Va analysis to our interventions embraces a refreshing cultural focus and simplicity, while also providing a profoundly complex and insightful approach from which to understand and to grow our practice. Va relational navigation challenges clinical approaches which masquerade as scientific and evidence-informed, while their Eurocentric cultural roots continue to grow through. The presentation navigated the Va in love, humility, and hope. Attendees were asked to be prepared to be moved, inspired, encouraged, and challenged.

Presenter – William Pua, Va Keepers Consultancy

Nurturing our Children - Preventing child sexual abuse in Pasifika Communities

Le Va is a Pasifika-led mental health and wellbeing organisation dedicated to supporting young people, families, and communities to unleash their full potential. They provide clinically safe, evidence informed and codesigned resources, tools, information, training, workshops, and support services. Le Va’s Atu-Mai programme is a community-based violence and sexual violence prevention programme designed to support Pasifika young people, families, and communities to experience safe, healthy, and respectful relationships in the context of family and community. Atu-Mai is currently engaged with the community to “lift the fala” and explore how they can prevent child sexual abuse in our communities. From a Pasifika perspective, child sexual abuse disrupts the ‘vā’ or sacred space that binds families and communities together. The workshop shared information about Le Va’s programmes, tools, and resources with a particular focus on Atu-Mai’s work in the prevention of child sexual abuse space.

Presenter – Dr Elizabeth Mati General Manager, Clinical Psychologist, Le Va
Leva Website

Implementing the family violence workforce capability frameworks

In May 2022, Te Puna Aonui launched the Specialist Family Violence Organisational Standards (SOS) and Entry to Expert Family Violence Capability Frameworks (E2E). Both tools are designed to assist family violence specialists and generalist NGOs and government workforces improve their ability to respond to family violence safely and effectively. The workshop explained how the SOS and E2E tools were developed, how they work, and how you can use them.  


Te Aorerekura: the National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence

Specialist Family Violence Organisational Standards

Entry to Expert Family Violence Capability Framework
Presenter – Karis Vesey, National Trainer, Te Puna Aonui

Development of sexual violence capability framework

Eliminating sexual violence in Aotearoa requires a workforce capable of responding to the needs of our diverse communities. We need teams of specialists, generalists, as well as our informal community networks able to provide safe, appropriate, and effective responses to sexual violence. Organisations with staff who are working to respond, strengthen, and heal people who have been harmed by sexual violence need to have the right policies and processes in place to sustain good practice with all the people they work with. Knowing how to respond, ensure protection, enable restoration and healing, and supporting accountability for people across a range of diverse communities are central to achieving our vision. This workshop outlined the co-design approach for developing the sexual violence capability frameworks. It focused on Pacific peoples’ engagement, given that they have clearly expressed that, “our communities are built on family, faith, and culture.” The workshop drew on the extensive skills, knowledge, and expertise of Pacific practitioners to help inform and describe the capabilities required for the workforces to appropriately work with Pacific peoples impacted by sexual violence, to enable strengthening, healing, and responding in ways that work for them.  

The workshop explored and talanoa:

  • How might we understand the five Te Aorerekura principles of Kotahitanga (relationship and inclusion); Kaitiakitanga (protection and accountability); Mahi Tahi (collaboration and advocacy); Ora (wellbeing and restoration); and Koi Mahi (innovation and learning) in relation to engaging with Pacific peoples?
  • What skills, knowledge, and qualities are required for the various capability levels of ‘essential,’ ‘entry,’ ‘enhanced,’ and ‘expert’ when workforces engage with Pacific peoples impacted by sexual violence?


Presenter – Sati Ete, National System Practice Lead, Te Puna Aonui

A strategic view of workforce development across the sectors

Workforce development is a critical shift to the system for eliminating family violence and sexual violence. Informing workforce plans in the health and social sectors also providing opportunity to contribute to a discussion on what needs to be done to drive a whole-of-government, coordinated national workforce approach to ensure Pacific equity and address the demand for a skilled, culturally capable, and sustainable Pacific workforce.  

Presenters – Tagaloa Dr Junior Ulu, Director Pacific Health, Ministry of Health; Serena Curtis General Manager, Pacific and Community Capability Programmes (Pasefika Proud), Ministry of Social Development; Leilani Unasa, Director Policy, Ministry of Pacific Peoples

Cultural and clinical supervision – what does good look like, what’s available?

This workshop looked to navigate the importance of supervision in our work environment as Pacific practitioners working in the areas of family violence and/or sexual violence. Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW) is actively looking at a Pacific Strategy for Supervision. Attendees were invited to join in a fofola le fala (laying out the mat) opportunity to talanoa (talk) about what this proposed strategy could look like for practitioners as well as sharing what’s currently available. As advocates and providers who are committed to effective ways of working and sustaining our workforce, it is important to share your insights and enable Pacific practitioners to be heard in the work underway to enable our workforces.

Presenter – Diana Vao, Senior Social Worker Team Leader, Salvation Army Community Ministry

Trauma-informed leadership

A panel of organisation leaders shared insights into how they account for the optimum wellbeing of their staff who deliver interventions in family harm and sexual violence. A discussion followed on practical ways to care for the wellbeing of staff and examples of organisations’ looking after staff wellbeing.

Presenters – Joy Sipeli Executive Director NET, Michael Sua Communications Lead, NET

Practitioner wellbeing – the Talanoa Project

The Talanoa Project intends to shine a spotlight on practitioners’ wellbeing, needs, concerns, and their hopes by allowing them to speak their reality, which in turn honours the selfless, complex, and demanding work they do. The Project will help define individual practitioner’s needs, self-care practices, how they are coping with the stress of working in family violence and sexual violence and identify the concerns or worries they may have. This work is ground-breaking, and with fono participants’ support and input, will more clearly articulate and amplify the collective voice of practitioners.

Presenter – William Pua and Ailaoa Aoina, Va Keepers Consultancy

Dealing with burnout – keeping well, staying well

Media have commented on Māori and Pacific communities’ ability to achieve impressive outcomes with COVID- 19 vaccination. The pandemic highlighted how critical Pacific leaders, providers, community groups and churches were in ensuring the community was protected and vaccinated. The ability of leaders to quickly and safely mobilise, educate, and support their people, however, can sometimes come at a cost. Moving beyond Covid and more recent challenges for some practitioners dealing with adverse weather conditions, this workshop was designed to speak openly about anxiety, stress, and burnout and explore healthy practical ways to deal with life’s challenges.

Presenter – Dr Siale ‘Alo Foliaki MNZM