Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Pasifika youth given “a chance to speak up” at COVID-19 Zoom Fono

COVID-19 Youth Zoom Fono pic
COVID-19 Youth Zoom Fono pic
The COVID-19 Youth Zoom Fono is an opportunity to check in with Pacific youth around the motu.
Avatar photo
Alice Lolohea | Reporter/Director/Videographer

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples has teamed up with the Ministry of Health to host a Covid-19 Zoom Fono for Pasifika youth tonight.

MPP Youth Advisor for Regional Partnerships Janelle Fonokimoana Augsburg says the fono is an opportunity to check in with Pacific youth around the motu.

“It’ll give them an opportunity to ask [questions] firsthand with health specialists and doctors, who will also be on the call,” says Augsburg.

“They can ask questions, anything related to Covid, the Delta variant, vaccinations and any social support they may need.”

While Pasifika currently account for the highest number of testing rates in the country, compared to other ethnic groups, Pacific vaccination rates are much lower.

According to recent MoH data, 113,340 Pacific people have received their first dose of the vaccine, while over 66,000 Pasifika are fully vaccinated.

Augsburg says Pacific youth don’t feel any urgency to get vaccinated unless absolutely critical, and many have Covid vaccine concerns stemming from lack of trust or religious reasons.

She says many of these Pasifika youth are leaders in their own communities through school, church and family. These young people are seen as trusted sources of information.

Director-General Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Pacific Covid-19 Advisor Dr Api Talemaitoga will be present to answer questions, together with MSD, Le Va and Pasifika Futures.

Augsburg believes this fono will give youth “the ability to have self-determination and make informed decisions about important things in their lives.”

“Especially with Covid-19, I think it’s important now more than ever to give that power to our youth; power through information and education so they can make those informed decisions about Covid-19 and the vaccination for not only themselves but for their village.”

While MPP has hosted a number of fonos during this lockdown with many community and church leaders, Augsburg says youth aren’t always comfortable being vocal in these settings.

“We just wanted to make a Pacific youth-specific space that’s facilitated and organised by youth so that [they] can feel as confident and safe as possible to speak up about how they’re feeling, and what they’re thinking about Covid-19 at this time.”

“I think sometimes people forget that youth want to be involved in the conversations from the get-go, not just consulted at the end.”

“The intel that comes from this fono can create change for [the] government. MPP and MOH are listening, and they want to hear what Pacific youth have to say. So I think it’s an opportunity for us to really speak up.”

Click here to register for the COVID-19 Youth Zoom Fono #RepYourVillage 

Quotes have been edited for length and clarity.





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