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GPS @ Waitangi

Le Va facilitated the first of six GPS workshops for 2018 at Waitangi on 3 May 2018. GPS 2018 continues with the theme established in 2017, of focusing on local and regional systems and services for Pasifika and Māori, highlighting the positives of local #collaborACTION to combat challenges facing the region.

The workshop began with a blessing and welcome from the Right Reverend Waiahou Rui, supporting the importance of the fono. Le Va chief executive Dr Monique Faleafa then provided an overview of the purpose of the day, and the state of play for Pasifika mental health and addiction. 

Tauti Daniel Faleolo shared his wisdom on the importance of community action in Northland for Pasifika. Apollo Taito (senior manager, Le Va) then spoke about the areas of focus for Pasifika mental health and addiction workforce development for the next decade, and facilitated the following panel of expert community leaders in the sector sharing their experience, perspectives and knowledge. 

  • May Seager (trust manager, Fale Pasifika) provided a Pasifika NGO perspective on the need to advocate for Pasifika, and the importance of connection and culture.
  • Maurein Betts (Northland primary mental health and addictions programme leader, Manaia PHO) talked about Pasifika as the ‘invisible population’ in Northland, and the importance of being seen. Maurein highlighted data inaccuracies of statistics in the region, and the need for relational connection and identification.
  • Toa Makoni Luka (Whangarei acute spectrum specialist service, Northland DHB) shared about cultural healing and the value of family and church for Pasifika. Toa revealed traditional Niuean cultural healing practices, and how Pasifika families would always come together, work together, to heal and to rebuild.
  • Tania Papali’i (programme lead, resilience, Northland DHB) touched on her role in suicide prevention for Pasifika and Maori, acknowledging two clusters of suicide deaths in 2012, and how this ignited support and action with the community. She also shared about the strong link between alcohol and family violence with suicide.

It was clear that the audience valued the interactivity and connective capability of the forum – providing a safe platform to share wisdom, perspectives and movements in the sector. The Le Va team heard many heartfelt pleas for sufficient and sustained resources for the region, or just to retain the systems, services, and people already working hard in the region.

The theme of the ‘invisible population’ of Pasifika in Northland came up often, with commentary that internal service processes do not allow for dual identification. With a growing bi-cultural Pasifika population, data collection that allows for multiple cultural identities and connection is important for more accurate data, and to ensure that we turn the tide on the health and wellbeing of Pasifika.

Josiah Tualamali’i from the Mental Health Inquiry closed off the day in highlighting the purpose of the Mental Health Inquiry, and how the community can provide feedback. It was a privilege to facilitate this open discussion for the Northland community. 

We look forward to facilitating solution-focused conversations relevant to the Pasifika communities in Auckland (29 June), Wellington (5 July), Christchurch (11 July), Dunedin (12 July) and Hawke’s Bay (19 July).

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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.