Rainbow Pasifika/LGBQTIA+/MVPFAFF+

Rainbow is an umbrella term that describes people who do not identify as heterosexual, or do not fit standard gender norms.

Pasifika families have long included Mahu, Vakasalewalewa, Palopa, Fa’afafine, Akava’ine, Fakaleiti or Leiti, Fakafifine. The term MVPFAFF+ was coined by Phylesha Brown-Acton, to centre and bring forward discussions that include Pasifika Rainbow peoples and the terms they identify with. The “+” symbol acknowledges that there are other Pacific Island cultures who also have terms that describe gender identities, gender expressions and sexualities. MVPFAFF+ also acknowledges that most of these traditional names do not encompass or describe lesbian or bisexual women.

You can download a pdf of Phylesha Brown-Acton’s keynote speech from Le Va’s 2014 GPS 2.0: Growing Pacific Solutions for our communities national Pacific conference, at this link: Download

The Rainbow (LGBQTIA+ /MVPFAFF+) communities are important and vital members of the Pasifika community and New Zealand society. As Pasifika communities in Aotearoa evolve, so do the terms used to describe these population groups.

There is a high prevalence of suicide attempts in Pasifika Rainbow communities, and this population is at significantly higher risk of self-harm and suicide.

The high prevalence of suicide among LGBQTIA+ people is well established in many societies, including New Zealand. We need more information to address unique issues for Pasifika Rainbow people.

Loving differently can have harsh penalties and criticism in some communities.

The high risk of suicide is closely linked to a lack of acceptance, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination, shame, bullying, violence, and rejection by others. The negative impacts on mental health caused by intolerance, lack of acceptance, rejection, aggression, and negativity is well documented.

Creating societies and communities that all people want to live in, and supporting all people to feel worthy and wanted so that they choose life is fundamental to any meaningful suicide prevention.

Acceptance, compassion, healthy interconnectedness, respect, service, love, and reciprocal relationships are Pasifika values that extend to all members of the community.

Creating safe and accepting spaces and positive relationships with everyone we interact with regardless of gender, identity, gender norms or sexuality, can be an act of suicide prevention.

Le Va recognises that a healthy Pasifika community means healthy Pasifika people. We aim to ignite, inform and equip Pasifika communities and create change to help all Pasifika people reach their full potential so that our families and communities can flourish and thrive in Aotearoa.

Below are support services and information for Pasifika Rainbow/LGBTQIA+/MVPFAFF+ affirming groups.

The Manalagi Project

An Aotearoa Pacific Rainbow LGBTQIA+/MVPFAFF+ Health and Wellbeing Project

The Manalagi project is the first Pacific Rainbow+ health and wellbeing project in New Zealand. Manalagi works in collaboration alongside F’INE Pasifika Aotearoa to enhance the mana of Pacific peoples, creating a safe cultural research space for Pacific Rainbow+ communities to talk about their individual health and wellbeing needs. This project aims to support inclusion for the Rainbow Pasifika communities in research, policies, and the health workforce.

Check out the Manalagi website

Moana Vā

Navigators of Pacific Pride

Moana Vā is based in Ōtautahi Christchurch and began its journey to identify and address the needs for Pacific Rainbow+ LGBTQIA+ MVPFAFF+ communities in the Canterbury Region. Moana Vā is a Pacific collective promoting community connection, support, advocacy, and mentorship.

Check out the Moana Vā website

F’INE Pasifika Aotearoa

F’INE Pasifika Aotearoa Trust works to uplift all Pasifika peoples and believes that no one should be left behind.

F’INE (fee-neh) is a MVPFAFF+/Pacific LGBTQIA+, Rainbow and Queer focused charitable trust providing Whānau Ora navigational services in the Auckland region. F’INE embodies fanau/family and community, sense of belonging and places, journey, peoples lived experiences, cultures, languages and connections, and promotes access to opportunity and ensures that doors open to Pasifika peoples.

Check out the F’INE website

Pacific Sexual and Gender Diversity Network (PSGDN)

The Pacific region’s first network of LGBTQI organisations and individuals in the Pacific, currently based in Suva, Fiji

Since its official establishment in 2007, PSDN has evolved into the Pacific Sexual and Gender Diversity Network (PSGDN) when it got registered in Fiji in 2018. The focus of PSGDN in recent years has been on growing the movement across the region and advocating for dedicated resources to progress the priorities of its members.

Check out the PSGDN website

Te Aito Rangatira

Te Aito Rangatira supports the Cook Islands LGBTQIA+ community residing in Aotearoa New Zealand

Check out the Te Aito Rangatira facebook group

Rainbow Youth

NZ Arts Laureates & Queer Indigenous, Interdisciplinary Arts Collective from the Moana, based in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

Rainbow Youth works towards creating social change by providing support, information, resources and advocacy for queer, gender diverse, takatapui and intersex young people across Aotearoa.

Check out the Rainbow Youth website


NZ Arts Laureates & Queer Indigenous, Interdisciplinary Arts Collective from the Moana, based in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

FAFSWAG is a brand that celebrates and documents emerging Queer Pacific Culture within New Zealand’s urban landscapes. Driven by community this is a creative platform for connectivity amongst our young gay Pacific people navigating their unique identities.

Check out the FAFSWAG facebook page


Confidential, free, all-ages support line, rainbow specialist counselling and trans peer support

Call Outline on 0800 OUTLINE (0800 688 5463) any evening between 6pm and 9pm to talk to a trained volunteer from the LGBTIQ+ community. It’s free & confidential. Some of the topics people call to talk about include family relationships, loneliness and isolation, sexuality and gender identity, sexual health, navigating gender-affirming healthcare and meeting people.

Check out the Outline website

Burnett Foundation Aotearoa

Providing support for people living with HIV

Formerly known as the New Zealand Aids Foundation, the Burnett Foundation Aotearoa has been at the forefront of the community response to HIV in Aotearoa for nearly 40 years. The organisation’s origins trace back to the early 1980’s grassroots response started by brave volunteers who raised awareness of AIDS and support for those living with AIDS. A kaupapa that grew into the AIDS Support Network, then became the New Zealand AIDS Foundation in 1985 – and then the Burnett Foundation Aotearoa in 2022.  

Check out the Burnett Foundation website

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.