Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

NZ Pacific community to have a say on $151 million investment in Pacific families

PC: Pasifika Futures

Pacific communities across the country – from Invercargill to Kaitaia – will get a chance to provide feedback that will inform how $151 million of government funding for Pacific aspirations in health, housing, education and economic development, will be invested.

Pasifika Futures, the Whānau Ora commissioning agency administering the funding, will start community conversations in Invercargill on Monday 27th July and will spend three weeks travelling the length of the country reaching out to Pacific families and their communities. The Pasifika Futures team will visit five
South Island cities, including Christchurch, Dunedin and Nelson, before heading to main centres in the North Island.

Pasifika Futures CEO Debbie Sorensen says the Community conversations will be a platform for open and transparent discussions with the Pacific community, after government injected an additional $44 million into the organisation in its recent budget, with a combined total of $151 million over three years.

“This money is for Pacific families and it’s only right that the community should have a say on where the money is being spent and what we should be using it for,” she says.

The community conversations are open to anyone within the Pacific community and not just the leaders. In fact, Debbie encourages all families to attend because their contribution is valued.

“We need to be careful as a commissioning agency that we don’t come across as knowing everything and having all the answers. We are not in the habit of deciding what it is our people need and how our people should receive resources. We want a consistent process that is regularly reviewed and the voice of the people is not only heard but action is taken.”

It was six years ago when Pasifika Futures last travelled the country to hear from the Pacific community. Debbie says that feedback informed how the funding was used and influenced how business decisions were made.

“Back then, our families told us they cared about accessing education and learning, being able to pay their bills and leading a healthy lifestyle so they could live longer and be around for their families.”

From that feedback, Pasifika Futures prioritised funding to training organisations, scholarships, expanded healthcare services and provided financial and budget advice. This year, Debbie anticipates the discussion to be around the effects of Covid-19 and how it has impacted families livelihood.

“I expect to hear about people who have recently been unemployed and asking how we can help them get back to work. I expect our community to instruct us, telling us that this will be a top priority.”

Separate focus groups will be organised for the LGBTQ+ community, youth leaders and church ministers.

“We want to make sure that every part of our community has a voice, no matter where you are and what your needs are. Our job is to ensure that no one is left out.”

At each community conversation there will be leaders from each Pacific community, giving attendees the chance to voice their opinions and provide feedback in their own Pacific language.

Pasifika Medical Association Group

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