Le Va

GPS 2016: Growing Pasifika Solutions for our young people

If we give full participation with radical acceptance and absolute inclusion, we will unleash the full potential of our young people." GPS Youth Action Komiti

Interim results 

#GPS2016 was not a business as usual conference. It was co-created by young Pasifika people to promote and share solutions that work for them in social sector areas – such as preventing violence, addiction, mental wellbeing, cultural identity, suicide prevention, public health and education. 

From April 21-22 2016, #GPS2016 brought together more than 540 people from across key sectors to showcase 75 presentations and cutting-edge solutions from the perspective of Pasifika young people, within their families and communities.

The objectives of GPS 2016 as follows were achieved with distinction… to:

  • identify effective and integrated solutions across systems and sectors that make a difference for Pasifika young people and their families
  • demonstrate leadership regarding meaningful participation with young people
  • give voice to perspectives from Pasifika young people through a shared process
  • facilitate relationships across boundaries and build new capacity across sectors
  • provide evidence to guide more effective resource allocation for services for young people
  • co-produce strategies and actions that will address well being and cultural issues for Pasifika young people.

Le Va’s approach to facilitate sector wide collaboration across Pacific mental health, addiction, disabilities, and youth on a national level has been endorsed by the outcomes of this fono.



Delegates by ethnicity

Delgates by sector

Delegates by organisation

More than 540 people attended #GPS2016 across the two-day conference. Most were from NGOs, followed by DHB and PHOs, government departments and people working in education.

The majority of participants identified as having some Pacific ethnicity (83%), those with Maori heritage made up 9%, and 22% identified with other ethnicities.

The majority of participants identified as doing some work related to mental health, addictions and suicide (41%), followed by other (20%), followed by general health (12%), public health (10%), and disabilities (10%).

120 attended preconference meetings of Pasifika sector groups:

  • Faiva Ora Leadership Group – Pasifika Disability Support Services
  • FLO Ambassador Pasifika suicide prevention network
  • Moana Ola – Public Health Network
  • Pasifika Mental Health and Addiction Scholarships Workshop
  • GPS Youth Advisory Komiti
  • Moana Pasefika Northern Region Pasefika Mental Health and Addiction leaders
  • Drua – National Pasifika Addiction Network
  • Pasifikology network of Pasifika psychologists, graduates and students of psychology.



Le Va has been inundated with formal and informal feedback voicing an overwhelming sense of renewed energy to drive solutions that will meet the needs of our Pacific communities. As shown in the infographic, Initial evaluation results from our GPS conference in late April were outstanding. Our expected number of delegates’ was 350, and this was well over-subscribed at over 540 registrants. Overall, respondents reported:

  • 100% would attend GPS if held again

It was the best Pasifika health conference I’ve been to. Mostly because the overall vibe was positive and it felt very PACIFIC. I felt at home talking about these issues and it was a good space to be in”.

  • 97% supported Le Va’s approach to empowering youth

Continue this amazing concept involving young people in the decision making process and them being in the front and leading change”.

  • 91% gained new knowledge or insight about working with Pasifika young people

The creative element to the conference…was so engaging with the audience, providing so much information that was both useful and informative”.

  • 89% established new relationships across boundaries as a result of the conference

Le Va is cutting edge, and this conference shows great strides to bring young people and professionals together for a holistic view of possibilities in creating solutions for our people’s health and well being”.

  • 89% reported that they will now work differently as a result of the knowledge and skills gained from attending GPS

Overall the conference was FABULOUS. It was content-rich, inspiring and thought provoking…I was blown away by the calibre of presenters. I am looking forward to applying my learnings… Fa’afetai tele lava..”

Individual stream evaluation feedback results were even higher than the overall GPS results. In general, stream feedback indicated that delegates’ were very happy with the quality of the speakers in the streams, the relevancy of the content and topics, and the stream facilitation (often co-facilitated with a young person).


Youth Action Komiti

Youth Action Komiti.

Le Va committed to creating and supporting a youth-based conference committee (Youth Action Komiti - YAK) consisting of Pasifika youth leaders from across the country and a range of experience and ethnicities (Samoan, Tongan, Cook Islands Maori, Niuean and European). The 15 members of the YAK were actively involved in the co-design, co-development and co-delivery of #GPS2016.

For Le Va staff, authentic youth participation in practice ranged from ensuring rides home and food, to clinically supporting a young person at immediate risk of suicide, to mentoring academic study pathways, to de-prioritising other Le Va projects in order to accommodate.

It also involved bi-monthly meetings with the Northern region DHBs Matua Council to ensure cultural support and spiritual guidance from our elders for GPS. Ensuring Matua support and blessing was a priority for Le Va – not only for the success of the conference but to protect our young people so that they are accepted to freely voice their opinions. This was reflected in the opening ceremony with the Matua Council welcoming and blessing the YAK showing a symbolic sharing of leadership.


Keynote speakers

Thank you again to our keynote speakers and thought leaders for taking the time to share your expertise and knowledge
with us all. 

Keynote speakers.





Conference programme

You can still find details of the entire conference programme here for your ongoing reference and for reporting back to your organisation, networks and stakeholders about what you got out of #GPS2016. Also, check out our news page for inspirational stories and reflections from the conference.

Conference programme.





Taking a moment to reflect...

One of the coolest moments we had at #GPS2016 was the stream presentation fro TJ Taotua and the Aha Music Mentoring programme (in partnership with Pasifika Foundation Trust). Part of TJ’s presentation was creating a song and music video for the conference from scratch, using our own GPS participants as the stars! Check it out.