Whaikaha meeting reflects shared commitment to Pacific disability support
Le Va was honoured to host visitors from Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People in September, in a meeting with the Faiva Ora leadership group to exchange views on the challenges facing Pacific disabled people in Aotearoa today and into the future.
Led by their Chief Executive, Paula Tesoriero, members of Whaikaha’s executive leadership team, including Ben O’Meara, Tofa Gush and Dr Alfredo Adams, engaged with the Faiva Ora group with the goal of open dialogue.
Senior Manager for Public Health and Disability at Le Va, Ben Tameifuna, welcomed the guests with the Tongan saying “Fofola e fala kae talanoa e kāinga”, or rolling out the metaphorical mat for dialogue with kin and declaring a safe space for talanoa (talk).
Le Va works alongside community groups to reduce negative stigma and promote inclusion and acceptance by developing positive narratives about disability. The Faiva Ora leadership group plays a role in advancing and championing Pasifika disability issues by having their views represented at the highest levels in New Zealand.
Whaikaha was set up in partnership with the community, providing leadership on issues affecting disabled people with the goal of transforming the disability system in Aotearoa.
Attendees at what was the first of many talanoa sessions expressed excitement for what the future holds as all three groups look forward to the development of a new Pacific National Disability Action Plan over the coming months.