Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

$20k proposed to help Nelson council engage with Pasifika community

General manager of the Nelson Tasman Pasifika Community Trust, Robert Blake said that the funding proposal was “really positive” for the city’s Pasifika population. Photo: Max Frethey/Nelson Weekly.
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Local Democracy Reporting | Free Public Interest News Service

Nelson’s council has made a $20,000 show of goodwill towards the city’s Pasifika community.

During its last meeting of 2023, Nelson City Council agreed to consult on allocating the funds for council staff to engage with the Pasifika community on its priority projects.

Nelson Tasman Pasifika Community Trust general manager Robert Blake said the proposal is “really positive” and “a step in the right direction” for local Pasifika people.

“It’s quite a wide scope, so that could help with housing, a hub, just about anything and I know that comes with wider community benefits.”

A survey of Nelson Tasman Pasifika last year revealed that housing and health were the largest issues facing the community.

“The things that our Pacific population find hard is obviously long wait times at GP practices… we find that the determinants of health flow on to education and everything else,” Blake said.

“We get a lot of people come into Nelson, moving in with families, and then they’ve moved here and they’re looking for housing. The rental market here is pretty tight,” he added.

The Trust currently runs successful health clinics, with the help of primary healthcare providers, and is also embarking on a project that would see the Trust oversee several affordable rentals to provide Pasifika a platform to prepare and save for a first home.

The council funding could allow it to engage with the Trust further on these issues, or instead be directed to support plans for a new Pasifika community hub.

“Often our population can segregate themselves, because we don’t have one place, other than our churches, that we can all congregate in,” Blake said.

The funding isn’t earmarked only for engagement with the Nelson Tasman Pasifika Community Trust but is intended to contribute to the priorities of the city’s wider Pasifika population.

Pasifika Nelson City councillor Matty Anderson made the proposal and said it would show the council’s support for the city’s Pasifika community. Photo: Max Frethey/Nelson

Pasifika Nelson City councillor Matty Anderson proposed the funding during the council’s last meeting of 2023.

His proposal was born from the positive pre-engagement meetings the council has had with Nelson’s Pasifika ahead of consulting on the draft Long Term Plan 2024-34.

“It was a success story, there was a lot of mana there,” he said at the time.

The council already takes steps to engage with the Pasifika community, and works with the Trust regularly, but Anderson highlighted that Pasifika have “quite rightly” been historically disconnected from local government processes.

He hoped that this proposal would deliver a positive result and demonstrate the council’s support for local Pasifika.

“I would love to be able to have something that my community can see, and it would be just a start of a beautiful relationship and let them know that they are relevant and part of the community,” he said.

“What we’re asking for is quite humble”.

Nelson City Council is expected to adopt its consultation document for the draft Long Term Plan 2024-34 in March, with consultation following soon after.

Residents will be able to provide feedback on dozens of suggestions, including the proposal to allocate the $20,000 to enable council staff to specifically engage with the Pasifika community on its priority projects.

Local democracy reporting

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