Waitemata District Health Board
Josephine is Niuean/Samoan. Although Auckland born, Josephine moved to Niue to live and be raised by her grandparents at the age of two months. Josephine is now married to a Samoan and together they have a son named Tobias.
Josephine’s role as a clinical lead at Waitemata District Health Board has taught her that it’s ok to make and learn from her mistakes and to learn from others who’ve been before her. She’s learnt to share and work together and to “find a safe space and speak with our matuas”.
Josephine likes to challenge herself to learn new things. Josephine loves to travel, meet indigenous groups and learn their “ways of being”. She found her self-belief at her dynamic gym called Genetics, supporting BIG Pacific Girls to excel . “I found myself there and the magic and self-belief started to happen for me”. Josephine loves life and tries to stay positive every day.
Josephine’s dream has come true – she has always wanted to be a mother. She also promised her Nena she would grow up as a strong individual, be independent and always help people. She feels she has fulfilled that promise.
Favourite inspirational quote:
"I would like to dedicate my work and leadership to my grandmother “Mama”, the late, Mele Afua Jackson. She inspired me throughout my life, groomed me gently with her love, respect and kindred spirit. My courage, strength, and determination of fulfilling my dreams are the fruits of her labour. The way I am is a tribute to her life."
Describe your job
I am a clinical leader for a fantastic group of Pacific clinicians whom are passionate, love our people and want to help people from the harms of problem gambling, alcohol and drug use. We cover the Auckland region and we try to present our world views of New Zealand-born and the values of our tradition. We are guided and protected by our leaders, matuas and our community.
What do you do on an average day?
On an average day I coordinate and organise my teams, keep important relationships with Maori, non-Pacific, and our Pacific providers. I am always ensuring we offer the best service to Pacific people and that their needs are heard and addressed. We train and present our approaches to mainstream forums and are forever waving the flag for cultural services and and needs to build relationshsips in workforce and sharing resources.
What do you love about your job?
I love seeing changes in our people and seeing happier, healthier Pacific people. I also love the great work our workforce is doing in the health sector and the ‘dance’ between culture and clinical.
What opportunities does your job offer?
My job encourages me to climb the ladder but I am happy in middle management. I would like to be a trainer or lecturer one day. I might even explore the possibility of completing a PhD (when I’m in my 50s). Always remember we are not limited!
What skills, training, education or past experiences helped you secure your job?
You have to have a big heart and a lot of brains! You have to care and model the values of a Pacific person wanting to help our people. The key is passion, heart and hard work.
I started off studying youth work, social work and Maori development. I secured my Bachelor in Youth Development then moved into addictions, mental health and dual diagnosis where I completed a Diploma in Mental Health. I completed my Masters in Health Sciences (Hons) in 2005. I’m currently completing my postgrad in public health at the University of Auckland.
Be yourself and don’t try and be something else! If you are a natural rapport builder, engagement will be easy when working with Pacific people and families. They see your heart and don’t care about your credentials.
Why did you want to work in this sector?
I wanted to help my Pacific people and I made a promise to my Nena. I was led on this path for a reason.
I’m fascinated by mental health and addictions. My grandfather was an alcoholic, my grandma died of diabetes, my youngest sister was, at a point, suicidal and I felt helpless because I couldn’t to do anything to help her. So my personal background groomed me and led me into the sector. My journey never ends... It’s an adventure!
How does your role impact or help Pacific people with disabilities and their families?
I am happy when Pacific people access our services. They trust us and rely on us to help them. It’s great to see the changes and see less of our Pacific in a negative light in the media. I treat our people how I would like to be treated, how I would like my family to be treated. My team go beyond the call of duty. Pacific people work hard to help their own and that’s so rewarding to see.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to work in this sector?
Don’t give up on school! Find something you are good at.
Talk to people already in the sector. Access the grants from Le Va to help you with training and study. Share your ideas and knowledge, take a few risks and test the waters.
Build and maintain good relationships with all people. Always advocate for Pacific and be proud you are Pacific. Be open to learning on the job. Serve first and grow into being a stronger leader.