Time for Action on Pacific Practitioners' Forum Plans

Following on from the well-received Pacific Practitioners' Fono into Family Violence and Sexual Violence prevention, a number of ideas are about to be put into action from a collective of suggestions at the two-day event.

Planning by a small, devoted set of Pacific practitioners, is underway for a series of meetings.

The eight Komiti members - Diana Vao, Salvation Army Community Ministries - Joy Sipeli, NET - Kyla Rayner, Wellington Rape Crisis - Maggie Felo, NET -  Nicky Sofai, AVIVA - Tevita Fakaosi, Kainga Pasifika – Tima Hunt, The Fono -  Uipo Uipo-Tagaloasa, Tautoko Tāne and William Pua, VaKeepers, volunteered to work with Te Puna Aonui to make the idea of a National Fono become a reality.

Working with the recently appointed co-ordinators, their role is to advance 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.

Their roles on the Komiti will run at this stage, until June 2024.

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

Wellington and Northland have already said they would like to host a regional Fono in November and planning has started and being led by a pair of dedicated co-ordinators.

They are - Rasela Luapo, who is of Samoan descent and is based in Wellington. She was born and raised in Porirua where she lives with her husband and three children.

Cecilia Bessie Vakameilalo-Kioa,  who is based in Auckland and is of Tongan and Samoan descent. She is well-known in the community, currently working with a variety of groups including The Mana Moana Experience, Tu Mau Mana Moana and the NZ Leadership Programme.

Another popular outcome of the Fono was the Hearts of Hope, where participants were invited to write their thoughts on a card, each of which was put on display over the two days as a focal point challenging people to be the best they could be.

Among the messages was one which simply said, "You are not alone, we see you, we hear you, we will fight for you. Alofa Atu (love you)". Many others were equally as supportive and powerful.

The concept was presented to the Komiti by William Pau of Auckland of Va Keepers. It was so well received that it will also be used at the regional Fonos.

The Pacific Practitioners' Forum, which also meets online every month, is currently finalising its Fono report to help guide the regional meetings throughout the country.

Their findings will inform Te Puna Aonui in the implementation of Te Aorerekura the national strategy to eliminate family violence and sexual violence for Pacific people.

It has also started a monthly online newsletter to provide a platform to share information across the country.

For more information contact – pasifikasupport@toah-nnest.org.nz

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Read more on the National Pacific Practitioners' Fono

Read more on Te Aorerekura Hui - Strengthening work being done

Read more on Te Aorerekura - A step in the right direction

Read more on the National Strategy to eliminate family violence and sexual violence