Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

K’aute Pasifika deliver a timeless service to Pacific communities in the form of a Pan-Pacific village

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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Hanalei Foliaki | Reporter/Director

Preparations are underway for the opening of Pasifika Health and wellbeing service K’aute Pasifika’s brand new Pan-Pacific Hub based in Hamilton in the New Year. K’aute Pasifika have been delivering services in the Waikato for over 20 years and the physical manifestation of their journey is finally coming to fruition.

This new build is to deliver a timeless service for the Pacific Community right in the heart of Hamilton. In 1999, Leaupepe Elisapeta Karalus was a nurse teaching at the Waikato Institute of Technology when she joined with members of her community to start what would become a life-changing movement for her people.

During a time where statistical evidence showed that Pacific communities were not accessing health services, it was Leaupepe Elisapeta who posed the question to local politicians and Pacific leaders about what could be done to improve it. This resulted in a two day fono where people from all Pacific communities gathered and from that K’aute Pasifika was born. 

“I think what happened then is still very important today and actually we built this thing around strong and meaningful relationships. I think people are really important and I think what they say [and] what they want to do are important for us to listen to and respond appropriately” she says

Pacific people wanted an organisation run by their people, for their people with the common goal of growing it into something tangible. Current CEO of K’aute Pasifika, Leaupepe Rachel Karalus says it’s been a longtime coming.

“Politely, I would say society and systems weren’t ready or structured in a way that enabled our people to flourish. They weren’t set up in a way that enhanced our ways of being and of knowing and influencing systems. Changing hearts and minds are things that take time. ” she says

Fast forward 20 years and K’aute Pasifika has established a solid track record providing quality health care and an expanding range of extra services. Now, they’re about to embark on a new phase with a purpose-built facility which seats them firmly in their community. 

The K’aute Pasifika Village is situated on Hinemoa Park in the heart of Kirikiriroa Waikato. It sits in the middle of the West-Town Green Belt flanked by FMG Rugby Stadium and cricket pitch Seddon Park. Education institutions like The Waikato Institute of Technology and Hamilton Girls High School are also nearby.
“It sits between the roto and the awa which of course are things we as Pacific people really, intimately identify with; water” says Rachel 

Bringing the project to life and managing it through to completion have been many people including K’aute Sub-Committee Chair, Namulau’ulu Lale Ieremia who has been significant to the process. 

“Lale was a well-established project strategist, developer, big-picture thinker and had a reputation that precedes him. It would be fair to say that without his support and without his involvement, it’s highly unlikely we wouldn’t have achieved what we have managed to achieve today. We’re really grateful to him” says Rachel

Still under construction, the K’aute Pasifika Village is on track for its opening on January 17 2023. For Leaupepe Rachel Karalus, it’s more than just a building. 

“It’s a privilege and it’s a responsibility to be here pushing for things that continue to strengthen resilience in our communities and enhance the well-being and prosperity of our people. The message that I hope that we all take from it is that we have a voice, we are visible and our contribution to the region and Aotearoa is valued” she says

“[It will be] a place in which our broader community can learn, celebrate, enjoy our practises, our dance, our language and our stories”.

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