Pasefika Proud 2023 A Year in Review

For more than a decade, Pasefika Proud has collaborating with Pacific communities to develop and deliver Pacific responses to Pacific issues. We were formed in 2011 as a Pacific owned initiative drawing on cultural values and strengths to support Pacific families and communities to prevent and address violence. Since then, we have highlighted the key issues facing Pacific peoples in Aotearoa and the need for community-led solutions that aim to prioritise prevention. 

So now, in 2024, we are reflecting on, and celebrating, the past ten years of Pasefika Proud, inclusive of the many initiatives we have helped to set up and run all around the country.  

With this in mind we are commissioning an evaluation of our work called Celebrating Pasefika Proud – 10 Years On’, which will demonstrate the progress achieved through our activity over those years. 

But first we take a snapshot look back over 2023 for a sense of what is happening and what was achieved.


2023 highlighted many examples where community and government came together working shoulder to shoulder. For many Pacific providers working in the areas of family violence and sexual violence (FVSV) prevention, 2023 witnessed the continuation of key services being delivered across Aotearoa.  The work of Government, Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and many NGOs (non-Government Organisations) is widely publicised. There are so many other, mainly community organisations striving to be effective for the people they represent. 

For example, the Mahu Vision Community Trust developed and delivered a six-week programme for Kiribati women addressing issues around the impact of family violence on themselves and their families. 

A mother/daughter relationship was at the forefront of the programme, and the women involved each made a Tibuta - the traditional crocheted blouse important among Kiribati people - to present to their daughters, and in one case, a granddaughter, after the six weeks. 

The course was delivered in the Kiribati language to help attendees feel more comfortable and participate more fully. 

Comments in the feedback included ''I now understand how to support my family'' and they all agreed it was something they would recommend to family and friends. 

Such was the connection made that the women still meet on a regular basis to sew and build on the connections made. 

While Kiribati women were learning new skills, the Pacific men of Christchurch were also given an opportunity to change behaviours and stop using violence, through a ten-week course called Seuga, run by Aviva.

The aim of the course was for a reduction in rates of family harm, encouraging a sense of fa'asinomaga (identity) as a person and breaking down barriers that were preventing men from thriving in society. 

Programme facilitator James Filoiali'i said a real benefit of the course was that the men went away, shared what they had learned with their families and came back the next week and talked about how people had noticed the small changes they had made. 

''They take that leap of faith, that step up and the change stays with them,'' James said. 

As well as courses aimed at specifically women or men, another course, consisting of a three-day retreat, brought the whole family together on what was hoped to be a transformative journey together. 

The SIAOLA Famili Va Lelei programme was built around the premise that lasting change occurred when the whole family unit was supported and empowered.

Families involved in recent programmes said they had witnessed changes within their homes, including improved communication, better quality time and a deeper understanding of familial bonds. 

And older members of the Pacific peoples have not been overlooked in this area, notably thanks to the work of TOA (Treasure Older Adults). For many years, TOA has been at the forefront of caring, and advocating, for our matua (elders).

At a celebration in Auckland to acknowledge the work TOA had done over the past two decades, speaker after speaker praised the sterling work of the group. 

Serena Curtis, General Manager, Ministry of Social Development Pacific and Community Capability Programmes/Pasefika Proud, said TOAs dedication to seniors had not gone unnoticed at the department, and it was fair to say the MSD could not have done its work without the help of TOA, especially over the past few years with the effects of Covid and horrific weather events. 

Those words were echoed by the chief executive of Age Concern NZ, Karen Billings-Jensen, who said TOAs unique knowledge and skills were inspirational and gave other agencies an important understanding of elder abuse. 

''You deliver far more than you will ever be funded for,'' she said. 

In the Hawkes Bay region Judy Faka’osi Siaki and her husband Moughan Siaki used personal experience as a catalyst for change co-facilitating a Safe and Healthy Relationships programme delivered through Kainga Pasifika Services.

“A lot of our work is about connecting our people to their culture and Tevita created a model that we strongly work by ‘addressing our culture, our spirituality, and our relationship’ and when those three things work in harmony together then we can grow that core of love which is about The Power of Love not the Love of Power.”  - Judy Faka’osi Siaki (Kainga Pasifika Services).

The Fono, the Auckland to Northland based health service, continued to push ahead with its work with ethnic-specific Church Navigator roles to benefit Samoan, Tongan and Cook Island people in Auckland and Northland

The aim of its Church Navigator roles is to work alongside the different ethnic-specific denominations and to build the capability of church leaders to enable them to better assist dreams and aspirations of the families involved in the churches to achieve wellbeing.  The foundational values they use to work with the Church Leaders are those outlined in the Nga Vaka o Kaiga Tapu conceptual frameworks for Samoa, Tonga, and the Cook Islands. 

“Our churches have the confidence to reach out to us for support.  All of this has had a positive effect on the overall wellbeing of the Pacific people/communities involved” – Tima Hunt (The Fono) 

On a wider scale, a small, devoted set of Pacific practitioners is making its mark. 

Helping families come together in a safe environment was the aim of a three-day ‘Prosperous Families’ retreat hosted by Affirming Works. The family service was delighted that 18 families took part in the Kainga Tu’umalie (KT) programme, which encouraged values in the Tongan culture and provided teaching on “Fofola e Fala ka e talanoa e Kainga’’, the Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu framework, to restore families from the effects of family violence.

Families who attended the three days spoke highly of the opportunities to get together to talk and share their goals, dreams, and aspirations. 

Following on from the hugely successful Pacific Practitioners’ Fono, a Komiti - Diana Vao, Joy Sipeli, Kyla Rayner, Maggie Felo, Nicky Sofai, Tevita Fakaosi, Tima Hunt, Uipo Uipo-Tagaloasa and William Pua are advancing the Forum's aims of connectivity, knowledge sharing and helping to identify priorities and actions to combat family violence and sexual violence in Pacific communities.

Seven regions have been targeted for regional Fono by the Komiti - Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty/Waikato/Taranaki (combined), Tairawhiti/Hawkes Bay (combined), Wellington and two in the South Island.


One of the major success stories for the Pacific people has been the strength and positive impact of the Nga Vaka o Kaiga Tapu framework. 

It has identified a range of protective factors including healthy family relationships, positive cultural identity, a sense of belief, gender equity and participation in Pasifika cultural; and faith communities. 

Part of that cultural training in 2023 included a programme to help organisations to better serve the needs of Pacific families. 

For example, in February it worked with the Samoan EFKS Champions of Change. In March Nga Vaka spent time with the young people of Kiribati and Tuvalu to show them how to lead change, April's beneficiaries were the Nuie Intergenerational Champions of Change, indeed across the whole year there was hardly a group of people who didn't get to experience what Nga Vaka had to offer. 

Cook Islands skin author (tatau artist) Opeta Tarata Tavita Utanga was one of those who met with Nga Vaka facilitators when he was going through some hardships, spiritually, physically, and mentally.

He said the work he did with (facilitators) Tere Ford and Neville Takiri was amazing and some of the tools learned he is now using in everyday life as a father, brother, son, and businessperson. 

""If things aren't aligned, I can't be my true self. If I'm having a bad day, or feel stressed I reflect back to the framework,'' he said. 

Another to benefit is social worker Natalie Hopkins, who works for Parentline Hamilton. 

She took part in Nga Vaka's Tongan cultural framework training, which she hoped would help her get more understanding to work in such cultural spaces. 

''Being Pakeha, it is something I am very conscious of when walking into a home,'' Natalie said. 

''(The) training was a revelation, it's not about the people you see, it's about what you bring into that space.'' 

But the Nga Vaka work isn't just about individuals, highlighted by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Police and Nga Vaka's Champions for Change.

Inspector Sila Fagaesea Siaki was part of the process and said the partnership was ''a crucial step'' in empowering communities to combat family violence in a way that was truly rooted in Pasifika values. 

At the core of the MOU is a commitment from the police to support the Champions of Change in addressing specific community needs, and Insp Siaki expressed optimism about the potential impact of the joint venture. 

''We aim to see tangible results in reducing family violence, with Pasifika communities feeling empowered, and their cultural practices respected,'' he said.


A major milestone for the Niue community was the launch of Moui Olaola, National Niue Strategic Wellbeing Plan 2023-2025. Two years in the making, the document marked a collective effort between the Niue communities in Aotearoa with an intent to ignite real change and unleash the potential and the power in its people.

“Maintaining our collaborative spirit is of utmost significance to us, the Niue community, as we strive to collectively nurture and fortify resilient Niue families within the Aotearoa landscape. Our collective efforts aim to ensure that Tagata Niue experiences peace, prosperity, and comprehensive health and wellbeing.” – Maliaga Erick MNZM 

Moui Olaola, National Niue Strategic Wellbeing Plan is just one outcome of the strategic priorities for Pasefika Proud around achieving wellbeing for our Pacific communities are articulated in the Pasefika Proud Pathways for Change Framework. 

To achieve violence free homes and communities, the approach was to start the talanoa and build capability with Pacific communities around what wellbeing means for them and creating platforms for the communities to have open discussions. 

Each community within the regions is at different levels of understanding about what wellbeing is and what wellbeing to them looks like against the Treasury Wellbeing Domains.  

This has been a great opportunity for communities to understand for themselves what impacts their communities and families’ wellbeing and for the MSD Pacific and Community Capability team to partner with and support mobilising communities to take some responsibility in owning those and developing local solutions.  This work is ongoing as part of their own local, regional, and national Pacific wellbeing plans.

The Moui Olaola, National Niue Strategic Wellbeing Plan 2023-2025 is the latest ‘wellbeing plan’ published and follows Kāiga Tokelau Wellbeing National Strategic Plan 2022–2026, Lalawa – National Fijian Wellbeing Plan 2022–2025 launched in 2022.

Using a broader lens, in early July a two-day National Pacific Practitioners’ Fono took place for non-government organisations and community practitioners working in the areas of family violence and sexual violence

Among the speakers was the then Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence, The Hon. Marama Davidson who told an appreciative audience that it was an honour to be seated with people she called ''incredible heroes'' and ''Pacific champions''. 

She said there was a duty and responsibility on the Crown structures and systems to ensure they were confirming the voices, leadership expertise and cultural ways that were the strength of the work being done in the community. 

''We have a lot more work to do to correct long-standing imbalances, discrimination, racism, and classism ... our communities require an accountability that must come from Government,'' she said. 

Her words were backed by the Chief Executive of Te Puna Aonui, Emma Powell, who said while change may not happen quickly, it would happen, due to having a 25-year strategy, which gave them confidence to plan for the future. 

''I know the system has not worked for many and perpetuated further trauma, which is not good enough,'' she said. 

Key speakers included Judges Ida Malosi and Ali’imuamua Sandra Alofivae.  

Judge Ida Malosi, the country’s first female Pasefika Judge, spoke at length about building confidence towards innovative responses in restorative pathways acknowledging the challenging space pacific people occupy and how much work there is still to do.  

Judge Ali’imuamua Sandra Alofivae, MNZM, speech took a critical look at how to ensure Pacific voices count to drive change across the system. 

“We are in the trenches together; we are in the hills and valleys together. As a migrant population who has claimed Aotearoa as our own home there is responsibility on us to build what we believe a better nation looks like’’ - Judge Ali’imuamua Sandra Alofivae 

The Fono was such a success, that further meetings from Invercargill in the south to Whangarei in the north have been held or organised. A report on the Fono has been released and the work of devoted Pacific practitioners’ continues with the aim to combat Family Violence and Sexual Violence prevention.


Raising awareness continues to be an important focus towards combating violence and violence prevention targeting Pacific people.  Two rather different approaches were revealed in 2023. 

The first came from an unique art display in Christchurch, where contributors were asked a simple question - ''What one word would you use to describe the most special woman in your life''? 

In what was thought to be a world first, that word was then painted onto boards that were on show at the exhibition, preceded by ''She is''. 

The exhibition opened in conjunction with White Ribbon Day and was part of an anti-violence message that encouraged men to show love for the women in their lives. 

Sarah Brown of the She Is Not Your Rehab group said it was ''overwhelming'' to see how men opened up. 

She said among the words chosen were ''delight, courageous, blessing, joy, glue''. 

''But one of the most submitted words was home,'' she said. 

Artist Graham 'Mr G' Hoete, said the exhibition served an important purpose. 

''It's about our rangatahi, the young people themselves, sharing their own personal, very real, stories,'' he said. 

Among the contributors was Ashley Vale, who selected the word 'Joy' for his board. 

''It's for Victoria, my fiancée, and the mother of my children - it was an easy pick,'' he said. 

Meanwhile, a West Auckland teenager hoped a toolkit he had helped develop, would give troubled teens assistance in coping with issues around social media, online bullying, and sextortion. 

Shortly before heading off to begin his studies at America's prestigious Yale University, Andre Fa'aoso was one of 13 members of Netsafe's Youth Action Squad who produced a toolkit for youngsters trying to deal with troubling online behaviour.

Andre, who is half-Tongan, said it was likely young people would be more likely to listen to other young people, and it was important to give them an outlet, as he had seen how destructive online bullying could be for students and that online spaces had become a ''bit of a nightmare'' to navigate, so anything that could be done to help guide young people had to be a bonus. 

As for his personal future plans Andre hoped to work in journalism, although he was undecided whether that would be in NZ or the USA at this stage. 

Wherever it was he hoped to be someone  that ''Pasifika, Maori and Rangatahi in general'' could look up to. 

''If they have a dream and they have a passion and a drive to do something....they can. There is always a way,'' he said.


It could be something as simple as a promise made to your grandmother, or keeping alive the traditions of your grandparents, but when Pacific people express themselves, it is uniquely Pacific. 

John Misky is an example. More than 20 years ago he was playing a regular game of cards with his grandmother when she mentioned she would love to be in a position to donate money to the Tokelauan Bible translation campaign. 

His response was to promise his grandmother that he would build a Samoan va'a and sail it from Auckland to Wellington, collecting money along the way.

Sadly, his grandmother passed in 2005, so she never got to see her grandson keep that promise, but she, and others who have passed on, are remembered in the design through stars on the mast and a colourful turtle honouring them. 

As well as keeping his promise, John said he wanted to do the project as it brought back memories of sailing a va'a with his father as a youngster in Tokelau - times he treasured. 

It was 2017 before the project got moving properly, and despite the best efforts of Covid to scupper progress, most weekends John and his supporters worked feverishly in the shed at his Porirua home, completing the 400kg, 10m canoe in 2023. 

By which stage it was more than just a promise to his grandmother for John. 

''It's not just about building a's a matter of how we move forward and continue to share the knowledge, which represents our cultures, languages, traditions, and family connections,'' he said. 

Meanwhile, back in 1971, 45 per cent of Auckland's Pasifika population lived in the inner city. Now the figure has dropped to less than two per cent. 

Some of those who remained took part in a four part documentary - Still Here - to celebrate the small Pasifika community who are still part of inner-city Auckland.  

Among them is Tyla Vaeau, a Samoan tatau practitioner who works from her family home studio in Grey Lynn. 

She spoke for all the participants in the series when she said it was important to continue the legacy of ''living, working, and maintaining a presence in Central Auckland because of the strong Pasifika history of the area''. 

Her words were backed up by Josephina Folau of Herne Bay, who said with the death in February 2022 of Meleane Tuieti Mailau Folau ('The Queen of Herne Bay') the Tongan matriarch of their family a decision on what to do with the house would have to be made. 

She said things had changed so much over the years, as Herne Bay moved from being a very working-class area in the 1970s to its gradual gentrification in the 1990s and beyond. 

When the family bought the house in 1975, it cost $21,500. 

''For people on minimum wage with limited English that was amazing,'' Josephina said. 

''I would hate to see it turned into another Herne Bay villa, it holds so much history, pain, and happiness to so many people.'' 

The same thoughts were echoed by Ponsonby mother/daughter duo Selu-Kian and Moevasa Lealiifano. 

They simply said they resolved to hold on to their family home no matter what. 

''We don't care if you offered us a billion dollars. That means nothing to us. I refuse to sell the hard work of my parents who immigrated from Samoa.''


It's been said that Pacific people in Aotearoa often punch above their weight when it comes to success in certain fields. 

That's certainly true of Ida Malosi, the country's first female Pasifika judge.  

A role like that might be enough to persuade you to rest on your laurels, not Judge Malosi. 

Following the retirement of Judge John Walker, she was appointed, in 2023, as the Principal Youth Court Judge. 

Born in NZ of Samoan heritage, she said that when she was growing up there were no career expectations, just a belief in being the best you could be.  

She said her mum was a perfect example of that attitude. 

While her Dad worked as a wharfie, mum stayed home with the four children until they were all at school. She then got a job cleaning at a hospital. 

"Then she was a supervisor, then head supervisor. So, there's an example - it doesn't matter what you do, (just) be the best at it,'' she said.  

Another to play a leading role in her field was Marie Schmidt, who worked with Pasefika Proud from its creation in 2011, and for 20 years with the Ministry of Social Development before that.

In 2023 Marie moved on to a new challenge, but with the endorsement of many, many Pacific groups and people ringing in her ears. 

Among the words used to describe Marie, as she moved on to a role within the Ministry of Housing, by countless people were ''instrumental, energetic, passionate, courageous, and absolute champion''. 

Her work was, perhaps, best summed up by Sagaa Malua, secretary of the Tuvalu Auckland Community Trust. 

''She showed a love for us, and we in turn have grown to love her too. We are blessed tenfold...because of intelligent and committed Pasifika people like Marie (who) make sure our voices are heard,'' Sagaa said. 

It's fair to say Vitale Lafaele has always been a leader - he did it as a child growing up in a Samoan family in Grey Lynn, doing whatever he could - milk runs, paper rounds, shelf stacking - to help the family, and he is doing it today, more than five decades later running leadership courses for the Ministry of Social Development.

Between those extremes in his life there has been a lot going on. 

By his own admission he wasn't academic at school, but still was made a prefect and took on sports coaching roles.' 

After school he applied for the police four times, and four times he was rejected, before he ''stumbled across'' an advert for the SAS (Special Air Service), even if he wasn't quite sure what it was all about. 

Vitale was one of 300 to put his name forward, and 16 months later, following testing and training, there were just four people standing - including Vitale, who even then was not sure why he succeeded where others didn't. 

''Maybe (it) was that belief system I had fought for over those early years may have aligned me to SAS values, but whatever it was I had found a place where I belonged,'' he said. 

Even while rising through the SAS ranks Vitale still wanted a role with the police, eventually succeeding and becoming the first Samoan to be Area Commander for Counties Manukau. 

A stroke in 2014, which left him legally blind, meant compulsory retirement, so he set about reinventing himself. 

He took on service roles and worked with the Stroke Foundation and also did motivational speaking, which led to his role with MSD. And he has some timely advice for people looking to advance themselves. 

''Understand yourself first. Be yourself as a leader. Once I understood that, I not only became a better leader, but I became a better person,'' he said. 

It's not just at the mature end of the spectrum where Pacific role models shine. 

The 2022 Prime Minister's Pacific Youth Awards produced nine names to watch out for in the future.

They were Latayvia Tualasea Tautai ( Leadership and Inspiration), Emeline Latu (Teaching and Education), Annafinau Tukuitonga (Arts, Culture and Creativity), Maia Mariner and Mary Ieremia-Allan (Community Star), Mele 'Ofa-Ki-Vila Mafi (International Scholar), Eunique Ikiua (Language, Culture and identity), Vaofusi Salvis Laurenson (Commercial and Corporate), and To'e Lokeni (Business and Entrepreneurship).

Described as an ''integral part of the Pacific community'' by the former Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, he said all the recipients had created a positive impact on their chosen field. 

''He said they were part of the ranks that he liked to call the ''six Bs'' - Brown, Brainy, Beautiful, Bicultural, Bilingual and Bold.


When disaster struck, through cyclone Gabrielle in February 2023, it brought home part of the unseen side of such natural disasters. 

In the immediate aftermath of the cyclone, the Ministry of Social Development was quick to highlight ways in which assistance, such as community support packages, could be accessed for our community groups, for which many were grateful. 

But other groups were aware that in such tough and unusual times they would be bracing for an increase in further suffering, this time in people's own homes. 

For instance, the Fale Pasifika Women's Refuge acknowledged that the aftermath of the cyclone would be a ''difficult time'' for many whanau/aiga. 

''Experience tells us that family violence rates and calls for help increase immediately following disasters of this kind,'' they said. 

Comments like these, which were backed up by the Women's Refuge and crisis service Shine, were supported by Police Commissioner Andrew Coster. 

He said family harm figures increased 60 per cent following cyclone Gabrielle, which was ''not surprising''. 

Pressure on the community was playing out in a range of ways in terms of tension and that people were under pressure he said.


From the very young to the more mature, it's vital we keep people safe online, and there are a number of ways it has been highlighted. 

For the younger members of society, and their parents and caregivers, an animated app for those more challenging moments, was launched. 

Play Kindly 2.0 produced by Dr Esther Cowley Malcolm, Oscar Kightley and Ali Cowley, together with the University of Auckland's Professor Sally Merry and Senior Lecturer Dr Gerhard Sundborn, produced the app from research done in Dr Cowley-Malcolm's PhD study on managing children's behaviour around aggressiveness. 

The results of the research, and the random control trial, were everything the group could have wished for. 

This was backed up by comments from parents involved who said the app helped them put things into practice, helped them understand the way children played and made them more aware of their responses and the effect they have on the child. 

Dr Cowley-Malcolm said the trial showed that kids behaved better after watching the app and parents felt more competent after using it.

Image Supplied - Pacific Senior Digital Training 360 Tautua Trust

Image Supplied - Pacific Senior Digital Training 360 Tautua Trust

At the other end of the age scale Pasefika Proud supported initiatives to help Pacific people aged 55+ access free computer training through several approved Pacific providers.  

Research has consistently shown that Pacific people experience health disparities and with the use of digital platforms being used to access health services more and more, it is vital that older Pacific people feel confident using online services. 

Churches and community groups are among those who will help deliver digital training to those who need it most over three years. 

Amio Matenga Ikihele, of Digifale, which is working in the Auckland region, said its digital training would be Pacific led to ensure it remained culturally grounded. 

''This may include elders learning how to call their loved ones overseas or learning how to navigate telehealth or their patient portal,'' she said. 

Of concern, 2023 witnessed a rise in the number of cases of ''sextortion'' (online extortion revolving around sexual images online), led to Police Sergeant Dan Wright warning that the number of cases reported was probably only the tip of the iceberg.   

And there was a fear that Pacific people were specifically being targeted. 

A recent Government study showed that one in five Pacific people (aged 16-65) did not have basic computer skills, leaving them more susceptible to a sextortion scam. 

Experts said for parents', supervision of their children's online activity was crucial, as was having open conversations, checking privacy settings, letting the child know you were approachable if they felt troubled and reporting any suspicious online behaviour to the likes of the Police or a group such as Netsafe, which was experienced in dealing with such issues.


There’s no denying problems exist within the Pacific communities, but they are being spoken about increasingly making action possible. This is revealed in a number of groundbreaking reports on the books. 

Pasefika Proud is actively supportive of initiatives which promote and socialise its key messages and work. The mahi undertaken by PACIFICA culminating in the Wellbeing Report – Voices from Pacific Women and Girls in Aotearoa, New Zealand, aids in the delivery of initiatives involving talanoa with Pacific women and girls around how they keep themselves safe, strong, prosperous, and resilient. IMAGE 20 

Some reports aid a response to the revelation that almost one in three Pacific women in New Zealand admitted to experiencing some kind of abuse.

More frighteningly, it is feared that perhaps only one-third of abuse is actually reported to authorities. 

Principal policy adviser at the Women's Refuge, Natalie Thorburn said many people still believed family violence was caused by anger or poor impulse control and that women just needed to make the 'right' decision and leave such a relationship. 

But she said family violence wasn't just a social problem and everyone had a role to play. 

''It's a health problem, an economic problem. a workplace problem, a community problem, and a justice problem,'' she said. 

A four-year joint study between the University of Auckland and the Ministry of Social Development into the sexual violence workforce in the country revealed that workers felt ''frustrated'' with the system, the way funding was handled and the approach, particularly of the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), was culturally alienating. 

The report praised ''a committed, highly qualified workforce dedicated to its work'' which needed greater cultural and clinical-based support. 

A three-year study “by Pasifika, for Pasifika with Pasifika research’’ has found that more needs to be done for our Pasifika youth and their families to move them away from the justice system.

Research commissioned by Pasefika Proud provided valuable insight in some of the main contributors of family violence. 

The Pasefika Protective Factors for Family Violence in Aotearoa New Zealand identified a range of factors including societal, family and personal factors combined with cultural and faith beliefs in Pacific families and communities.

The research, led by Associate Professors Yvonne Crichton-Hill (University of Canterbury) and Julia Ioane (Massey) will help inform and shape future work programmes and better support community-led initiatives that seek to prevent family violence in Pacific families. 

Associate Professor Ioane was also the driving force behind a report aimed at understanding the views and experiences of Pasifika youth and their families about their involvement in the justice system. 

She merged it with the mental health problems Pacific youth experienced, given the underreporting of the issue. 

Conclusions of the report included prioritising a focus on Pasifika youth within the justice system, as their behaviour had wider implications for the community, an acknowledgement of the higher levels of unmet mental health needs in the community and the realisation that mental health disorders were higher among all young people in the justice settings than in the general population. 

Someone with a better idea than most about the problem of family violence is Sister Cabrini 'Ofa Makasiale.

A teacher, physiotherapist, clinical supervisor, and counsellor, who completed her Masters in Spirituality, she wrote a book, released last year, entitled Claiming the Space for Spirituality - Pasifika health and wellbeing, which was in response to her work with Pacific peoples. 

In it she wrote of how faith and spirituality were core to Pasifika healing. 

Sister Cabrini said many Pasifika people suffered the effects of cultural misunderstanding and intolerance, often, unfortunately, from mainstream health professionals. 

She said that in the past spirituality had been neglected or excluded as the mainstream failed to see the relevance of it. But the times were changing, given the World Health Organisation had given spirituality its approval. 

Meanwhile a Youth Plan webinar aimed at making Aotearoa ‘’the best place in the world for young people’’  has highlighted the challenges facing Pacific youth. The plan was to amplify the youth voice in Government policy and decision-making and to have those identities seen, valued and respected.  

Tia Tonginako, a representative of The Hive (image credit) a group set up to give young people a platform to have two-way conversations with decision-makers about the issues that matter to them, told the meeting she wanted any policies they come up with to ‘’genuinely consider youth perspective’’.

2024 and Beyond

Much is happening as we look ahead into 2024 with the knowledge is power, but not especially useful towards transformation if kept silent. Diffusing data, insights, evidence, sharing of truth with unwavering intent and learning is critical to systems change.   

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. 

We welcome you as we continue the Pasefika Proud Pathways for Change journey

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