#GPS2016 Lifting Limits stream

One of the different approaches we took at #GPS2016 was focussing a holistic lens on our traditional sectors. This included combining public health and disability into one workshop stream – which, according to our Youth Action Komiti, allowed those present to look at meaningful solutions to youth-related issues across these sectors so that boundaries could be challenged. 

Lifting Limits’ was the name the Komiti gave the public health and disability stream, and it was incredibly appropriate.

Across two days we were honoured to have 10 passionate and inspirational speakers share intelligent, innovative and practical ways of working with Pasifika youth – using evidence, and through creative arts, powerful imagery and lived experience. Presentations for each of the public health and disability presenters are summarised below.

Dr Seini Taufa provided evidence and findings regarding Pacific teenage Pregnancy in New Zealand, with a focus on teenage pregnancy from a Tongan perspective. Dr Taufa’s Master’s paper is called ‘A Mother’s Hope’ and is still being finalised, but we hope to have her presentation here for you to download in the near future.

Felicia Manase is the epitome of lifting limits, inspiring all through her journey in which examples of “pushing boundaries” and “lifting limits” are evident right throughout her life. Having been born with cerebral palsy, Felicia has refused to settle for the norm. An active member of the Faiva Ora Leadership Group and currently employed in the sector at Emerge Trust supporting young people transitioning from school, Felicia spoke of her journey so far, including training and running the New York Marathon (video). 

Lealailepule Edward Cowley works for Pacific Heartbeat, and in partnership with Village Collective has developed the Kick Butt Project.  Edward focused on how social media, school-based modules and live theatre are attractive means to engaging and delivering key messages about smoking prevention to young people. Also check out some their recorded talent on Facebook.

Dr Teuila Percival is the Director of TAHA Well Pacific and Infant service and also headed the Talanga Project, a study on Pasifika young people with disabilities. Dr Percival presented the Talanga research findings, and spoke around the individual or young person not being disabled, but more so that the environment was the disability to the person. Key messages from young people with disabilities and their families included looking closer into the needs of our young Pasifika and their families.  

#HowsYaFather is a collective of passionate, experienced and talented youth practitioners who have a heart for at-risk youth and work around the clock to connect and support them towards success in any field of opportunity. The team uses their musical talent, life skills and experience to engage and provide support. 

Daniel Te’o is a service facilitator at Taikura Trust and chair of the Pacific Development Team. An avid musician, proud husband and father of three, Daniel is very passionate about supporting Pasifika people and is a strong believer of positive attitudinal change. All these things were shown throughout Daniel’s presentation without having to refer to him being congenitally blind! Daniel’s theme was that our work should be on the person not the disability. Daniel spoke to enhancing access for our young Pasifika people into appropriate supports through the correct process and pathway.

Marina Alefosio works at Action Education and focused on their work with young people, expressing themselves through spoken word. Marina was accompanied by Roimata Prendergast, a McAuley High School student that Marina mentored and supported using action and creative methods. Both Marina and Roimata performed spoken word poetry reflecting their individual journeys and how their esteem, confidence and sense of identity were strengthened through this process.  

Dr Gerhard Sundborn is the vice chair of Moana Ola – Pasifika Public Health Network which provides an independent, inclusive and collective Pasifika Public Health Voice regarding health, social and economic issues impacting Pasifika families and communities in New Zealand. Dr Sundborn is also the founder of ‘FIZZ’ Fighting Sugar in Soft drinks and is popularly known as Dr Fizz. His take home message was the ‘3-6-5’ message: restricting sugar intake to a maximum of three teaspoons of sugar for children, six for females and five for males daily. 

PHAB Pasifika has a unique and culturally appropriate way of delivering social inclusion. PHAB aims to improve access to activities for young Pasifika people with disabilities and their families. Muliagatele Paul Lavea and FOLG co-chair Kramer Hoeflich spoke about young people with different abilities, with a strength-based approach as opposed to a lens solely on the disability.  

TJ Taotua leads the Aha Music Mentoring programme and, in partnership with Pasifika Foundation Trust, aims to help Pasifika school students share positive messages on anti-bullying, self-belief and gratitude through music and song writing competition, with accompanying music video. TJ went through this process with the stream’s participants, and what usually takes eight weeks to develop was compiled within a couple of hours! Watch the GPS Music video that TJ and the Aha team created.

The Ministry of Health’s manager strategy and contracts, Disability Support Services Barbara Crawford presented an analysis about Pacific clients and Disability Support Services, which includes a summary of findings about accessibility across gender, age and geography. Check out this presentation (PDF, 395kb). 

On the subject of presentations, we’re still collating all these across the entire the stream and will make them available here - so please watch this space. 

Feedback on the workshops was very positive, with participants thankful for the powerful, passionate and youth-focused presentations across the board. Many spoke that it was appropriate to have our younger workforce presenting on issues facing the sector. 

 

About the author
Esther is Le Va’s Senior Project Co-ordinator, responsible for enhancing responses of health and disability services. Coming from an educational background, Esther also served in the health sector at DHBs for eight years prior to joining Le Va.

More about Esther Faitala