Pasifika arthritis educator
Arthritis New Zealand
George is from a Tongan family with one sister and a large extended family. He grew up in the central Auckland area around Ponsonby, Morningside and Grey Lynn. George has a background in community radio and loves sports, socialising and his family.
George has learned that communication is the key. When he’s presenting he’s also listening to what is being fed back to him to generate discussion. “And from discussion comes true learning!”
Favourite inspirational quote
“If you don’t like school son, then work hard at working your way up in life.” - My Mum
Describe your job
My role in the community is to educate the Pacific public about gout and self-management and to boost awareness on these issues. Here at Arthritis New Zealand we aim to improve the health and wellbeing for those affected by arthritis.
What do you do on an average day?
I send a lot of emails to arrange meetings and keep people up-to-date. I also send letters to people I think could benefit from my services as well as cold calling to seek opportunities to present and educate.
I prepare and deliver presentations to a wide range of Pacific groups and I develop Pacific-specific approaches to delivering the programmes we have at Arthritis New Zealand.
What do you love about your job?
I love educating and engaging the community with discussions that allow them to learn something about arthritis. Communicating with people, working amongst the best in the field i.e. specialists, doctors, nurses and different sorts of peoples from all walks of life. I love being busy out there in the community. I also enjoy the autonomy where my role is developed according to the needs in the community; it puts you in the front line of things.
What opportunities does your job offer?
It opens up many experiences that will help develop me for greater things. Working here is a great platform to launch off in the future.
What skills, training, education or past experiences helped you secure your job?
I think once I got over my fear of speaking in front of people everything just came from there. Overcoming that fear of speaking to groups is important because you tend to look at it as a skill rather than an embarrassing moment.
In radio we were trained to be prepared thoroughly, the more prepared you are the more effective you could you use the time to engage an audience instead of worrying about twisting knobs and pushing buttons.
Why did you want to work in this role/in the disability sector?
My Mum always said that an important job in life is a great job and I see the importance of my job for my peoples across the Pacific.
How does your role impact or help Pacific people with disabilities and their families?
Being a voice in the community and offering the services we provide allows me to interact with Pacific peoples all over the Auckland region. When we answer their questions, the learning quality of our workshops is very high. When our people learn in general we feel more empowered to make informed choices for ourselves, our health and those around us.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to work in the disability sector?
Firstly decide that you want to be in the sector, research it, meet with people who are already working in the sector and step in with a full heart!
Find out more
For more information about becoming a health promoter like George, check out these links from Careers New Zealand to learn more about similar roles:
- Education and training requirements to become a health promoter
- The job requirements, working conditions, renumeration and career progression
- Career planning
- Job hunting, CV and Interview tips and information
- Information on study, training and career planning for Pasifika New Zealanders
- Information on scholarships, grants and awards and how to apply for them
For job vacancies in the mental health, addictions and disability sectors, check out our job vacancies page. You can also check out Futures that work, Le Va’s Pacific health workforce development programme, for information on our scholarships and awards.