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A voice for Pasifika disability support

The purpose of the leadership group is to provide quality advice and support to the Ministry of Health and its funded disability support services on issues relating to Pasifika people with disabilities, their family members and aiga.  That includes advice on the implementation of the Faiva Ora National Pasifika Disability Plan, and also how to support community initiatives to reduce negative attitudes and stigma towards Pasifika people with disabilities.

This was the first face to face meeting for the group since the GPS2016 conference in April, and the group has been highly productive, so there was a lot to update from each member.  It was also an opportunity for the Faiva Ora Leadership Group (FOLG) to provide quality advice on two important strategies developed by the Ministry of Heath: a respite strategy and a rehabilitation strategy.

The Respite Strategy 2016/17 presented by Deborah Mills, Development Manager, Ministry of Health

Respite aims to provide families/whanau/aiga or carers with a planned, temporary break from caring for a person with disability. A temporary break can be for a few hours, a day, overnight or longer and may take place in or out of the family home. Timely access to respite can reduce stress for carers and help sustain the family unit. It’s important for the Ministry to receive advice around respite issues because traditional Pasifika values and beliefs about family and care for family might be different from the traditional western approach.  The FOLG provided excellent feedback as people with disabilities as well as service providers, to ensure a Pasifika perspective on what they would like to see for respite options. 

Rehabilitation Strategy 2016/17 presented by Liz O’Callaghan, Development Manager, Ministry of Health

Rehabilitation was presented as truly client-centred care supported by the skills of an interdisciplinary healthcare team working with the patient and their family to:
–    maximise a person’s abilities and independence
–    restore function
–    prevent new, or further, functional loss or medical complication
–    provide support to help the person and their family/whānau achieve emotional adjustment
–    enhance the person’s ability to contribute productively to family and society
–    maintain health and wellbeing in complexity.

As with the respite strategy, the FOLG articulated what rehabilitation meant for them, what has worked for them in their experience, what might be good for Pasifika in general, and areas of improvement for the provision of rehabilitation disability support services in future.

We were privileged to also host Estelle Muller, Senior Contract Relationship Manager and Family and Community Support Team Manager and Amanda Bleckmann as guests from the Ministry of Health to support the consultation.

As a former advisory group member of FOLG, Jade Farrah presented on Enabling Good Lives covering what it is, why it was needed, the impact and the successes that it’s seen following the pilot in Christchurch and what is currently being rolled out in the Waikato region.  

FOLG members also reported how they are supporting Le Va’s implementation of the Faiva Ora plan, such as featuring as co-facilitators at Le Va’s Engaging Pasifika Cultural Competency programme.  Felicia Manase has presented this month at the Engaging Pasifika workshop in Palmerston North.  Next month Fatima Akehurst and Saveatama Amerika Wilson will co-facilitate and share their journey and experience in the disability sector at two disability focussed Engaging Pasifika workshops in Auckland on the 3rd and 24th November.   

Some comments below by Faiva Ora National Leadership Group members about the day

“The FOLG is an awesome opportunity to help shape what disability looks like for Pasifika in the future”
“Great to hear what’s going on nationally in the sector”  
“Being a voice for our Pasifika people with disabilities, that have no voice”


“Though consultation is nothing new, the hope is that there are activities that Pasifika contributions would become beneficial for all in supporting services.” 

Well done Faiva Ora leaders!





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Covid-19 Update

Face-to-face workshops will not continue while New Zealand is at Level 4. We will be in contact with all participants soon.