Siale 'Alokihakau Foliaki
Counties Manukau District Health Board
Siale was born in Tonga and came to New Zealand when he was two years old. He grew up in the industrial heartland of Penrose, Auckland where he loved playing sport and anything that didn’t involve school work.
Siale’s roles within the Counties Manukau District Health Board have enabled him to understand that people’s emotional pain and suffering stems from identifiable causes. And most importantly, he has learnt that these causes can be addressed.
Siale’s dream is to sail a boat back is his homeland of Tonga.
"Everything we need to experience joy in this life is at our fingertips. We just need to remind ourselves and each other of that fact."
Describe your job
I currently have two positions within the Counties Manukau District Health Board. I am a consultant psychiatrist as well as the senior medical officer for Vaka Toa, the Pacific child and adolescent team.
What do you do on an average day?
I assess and treat young people that have experienced marked emotional distress as a result of a mental health issue.
What do you love about your job?
I love being able to help young people and their families get over challenging situations.
What opportunities does your job offer?
The biggest opportunity is having the chance to make a positive difference in peoples’ lives who are going through a difficult time.
What skills, training, education or past experiences helped you secure your job?
My education has involved seven years of medical school and then five years of specialist training.
Why did you want to work in this role/sector?
I am intrigued by the human psyche – why we make the choices we make and how this impacts on our emotional and psychological wellbeing.
How does your role impact or help Pacific people and their families?
There is growing distress in our community that lead to young people experiencing episodes of depression, anxiety, addiction and even psychosis. Professional treatments that work make a big difference and so I believe my work has a significant positive impact on the people that we help.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to work in this sector?
The work can be very demanding so you need to make sure that you have a love for helping people who are struggling emotionally.