Fakaalofa lahi atu kia mutolu oti!
My name is Laura Tongalea-Nolan.
I am a DAPAANZ registered professional. Over the past 13 years I have practised as a drug and alcohol practitioner within both primary and secondary mental health settings, and within community, residential and forensic addiction services. I have delivered individual, group and family interventions to those affected by mental health and addiction challenges, and have supported individuals at all levels of acuity. More recently I have taken up Pacific leadership roles in a variety of settings, one of these being within one of New Zealand’s biggest residential alcohol and drug treatment providers, with a focus on partnering with Corrections to deliver Pasifika clinical interventions to those in custody. I am grateful for all of the opportunities that I have been blessed with and look forward to my journey continuing within the Le Va magafaoa.
As a first generation, New Zealand-born Niuean (Avatele village) I have an understanding of the challenges that come with living within the Pacific diaspora in Aotearoa New Zealand. I understand the many ways Pasifika relate to their homelands, traditions and their respective Pacific worldviews within a contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand context. My mother was born in Niue as the youngest of 11, and migrated to New Zealand with her parents and her siblings in the late 1960s, when she was five years old. Of her siblings, she was the only one to complete school certificate within the New Zealand education system and to then go on and complete tertiary level study – graduating as a registered nurse in 1998 and practising as a psychiatric nurse for some 20 years. I credit my mother for the lifestyle and the privileges that we are able to experience today, and as such, throughout my career I have been committed to serving our Pacific communities and improving alcohol and drug service delivery to enhance the experiences of Pasifika within mental health and addictions services and beyond.
I too am a mother, to three beautiful little girls – Sunny, Mahina, and Ala, who motivate me in all that I do.