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Guest Blog: Anita Fa’aui Toki PAHANZ keynote speaker: my story as a Pasifika Allied Health professional in Aotearoa

Malo e lelei and Fakalofa lahi atu. My name is Anita O’Waikiki Fa’aui, my father is Villami Fa’aui, on his father’s side he is from the Fa’aui  family and from the island of Ha’apai, Tonga and on his mother’s side he is from the Leger family from the village of Fasi, Tonga. My mother is Susiana Lukupa -Fa’aui on her father’s side she is from the Oleiki family and on her mother’s side she is from the Lukupa family both parents are from the village of Liku in Niue. I am NZ born and the eldest of five siblings; I have two beautiful daughters, a son in law and a vibrant granddaughter. I was raised by my paternal grandparents and blessed to be immersed in their culture, traditions and language as they been enablers in my life and role as an allied health practitioner.

I am currently employed at Lotofale Pasifika Mental Health Service (MHS, ADHB) and as Practice Supervisor for Social Work and a Duly Authorised Officer. As Pasifika health practitioners, our practice ritage and values influenced by our ancestors, whakapapa, famili, magafaoa, whanau and connectedness to our churches and communities, we understand the journey of migration  and the Pasifika issues around stigma of mental health, reasons for DNA and barriers to patient retention for Pasifika engagement in mainstream services. We also know that healthcare workers need to possess cultural competence to ensure we are capable of providing high-quality healthcare for all our service users from all walks of life. Through this, Pasifika health practitioners can positively influence health equity by integrating cultural practices, concepts and the diversity of their worldview into health services.

As an allied health practitioner I walk in both Western and Pasifika worlds where I can best serve our Pacific communities, moreso when the diagnosis for mental health has required a cultural intervention, and the need to have a skilled Pasifika Practitioner to talanoa and navigate the interface between patient, family and clinical teams to gain a better understanding of the need for culturally sound and informed practice to occur.

As an allied health Pasifika Practice Supervisor, there is a need to advocate for change that requires a Pacific lens at a leadership level, as this has been pivotal in assisting mainstream health practitioners to better respond to the complexities of treatment and to gain an understanding of the Pasifika models of health such as the Fonofale model, to build the Va and nurture the relationship with service users and their families for better health outcomes.

I am honoured  to be part of a Pasifika led infinitive, where Pasifika Allied Health Aotearoa New Zealand (PAHANZ) aims to build allied health workforce capacity and capability to reduce inequity and support Pasifika health gain – whether that be through proving a pathway for future practitioners who possess a deeper understanding of a Pasifika worldview and cultural values or developing Pasifika practitioners to confidently advocate and champion Pasifika health… or whether it be further enhancing the cultural competence of all our colleagues through things like informal education and related learning opportunities.

The aim is to make us all better at providing the best healthcare to reduce inequity and achieve optimal health outcomes for not only our Pasifika peoples, but all people.

Malo aupito mo’e loto faka’apa’apa mo’oni

To join Anita in making a difference for Pasifika, register now with PAHANZ

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