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Love Letters to South Auckland

South Aucklanders may have been feeling disheartened by the shade thrown around around this week in the wake of the Papatoetoe Covid outbreak, but despite the constant negativity sent their way, that Southside tenacity has been shining through.

We all know how resilient our aiga there have been, in withstanding living around the biggest border entry and being the home to most essential workers. 

Image above of a group of students from South and wider Auckland who peacefully marched through Otahuhu in a display of inter-school solidarity last year.

Although many have turned to online negativity, a bunch of people have also come to South Auckland's defense. People like Auckland Councillor on the North Shore, Richard Hills tweeted a thank you to South Auckland a few days ago.

Counties Manukau District Health Chairperson Vui Mark Gosche said to media recently: “New Zealand owes a debt of gratitude to these people, to the constant, ongoing work they do, without complaint. They just get on and do it.”

He also singled out the local Māori and Pacific healthcare workers.…more


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Samoan poet Tusiata Avia a finalist for the prestigious Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry

Acclaimed Samoan poet, performer and children's book writer, Tuisiata Avia has made the shortlist for the prestigious Mary and Peter Biggs Award for poetry which carries prize money worth $10,000 and is part of the annual Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

We talk to her about her nominated book 'The Savage Coloniser', representation and more here - 

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What is The Savage Coloniser Book about and what drove you to write it?

Colonisation - particularly in the Pacific - and its LONG term effects on us. Racism (which is Colonisation's brother). They are the main themes - I also talk about illness, Covid, jealousy and a bit of sex for good measure lol  These are things I have always felt strongly about.

How different is it to your other work?

I've been talking about these things - in slightly different ways - for years. This is my 4th book of poetry - in some ways. I think this is my strongest. I don't hide anything. I speak straight to the coloniser. Straight to the racist.…more


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OUR PASIFIKA NEW ZEALANDER OF THE YEAR AWARDS FINALISTS

Yesterday the New Zealander of the Year – Ngā Tohu Pou Kōhure o Aotearoa team announced the list of finalists for the prestigious awards. The six categories of the awards cut down their nominees to a final three, from a list of thousands of nominations.

Amongst the list of 18 finalists were 3 Pacific islanders. Aigagalefili Fepulea’i Tupua’i and Mataio Brown are finalists in Kiwibank's New Zealand Local Hero of the Year category. While Brianna Fruean is a finalist in The University of Canterbury’s Young New Zealander of the Year category.

We introduce you to your 3 Pacific finalists and how they're feeling about this monumental announcement. 

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BRIANNA FRUEAN - Environmentalist and voice of Pacific Youth on climate change.

Finalist in The University of Canterbury Young New Zealander of the Year - Te Matatahi o te Tau award 

Brianna Fruean has been campaigning for climate justice for most of her life.…more


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PRIDE - PASIFIKA STORIES - MARINER FAGAIVA-MULLER

Mariner Fagaiava-Muller

(He/Him)

Journalist/ Grassroots Advocate/ Artist

Samoa & Tonga

Mariner Fagaiava-Muller is a young and vocal Pacific Islander who is passionate about people, culture, indigenous storytelling and youth advocacy. He is a current Journalist at TVNZ, using his passion of being a tusitala to narrate powerful truths. Mariner is proud to be South Auckland-born and bred, single mum-raised and Decile 1 schooled.

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If you could have the world's full attention, how would you introduce yourself?

You’d probably hear me before you see me. Either the classic hyena styles laugh or the pressure cooker silence meets asthma attack laugh - that’s me. My name is Mariner but everybody just calls me Maz. Born and raised in Māngere East. Strongly rooted however in the villages of Iva, Lepa and Saleaula in Samoa, and Nukunuku in Tonga. 

What is “Pride” to you?

Pasifika peoples are inherently proud. We stand strong on the motherland we descend from, the shoulders of our giants, the stories of us navigating seas.…more


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Church ministers have key role in sharing Covid-19 Vaccine message

Church leaders within the Pacific community have played an important role in spreading the health messages during the Covid-19 pandemic and we will need their support to endorse the benefits of vaccinations, says a leading Pacific doctor.

Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) member and General Practitioner at The Fono, Dr Natalie Hopoi, completed her Master’s in Public Health at the University of Auckland in 2018. Her thesis focused on the role that Samoan Methodist church ministers played in promoting health literacy within their congregation.

Dr Hopoi chose this topic because she was raised in a Samoan speaking Methodist church herself and knows the influence of church ministers in our community.

“The majority of Pacific people are Christian and rely on the messages received by their church ministers to make important health decisions for themselves and their families.”

As the world is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Hopoi says it is important that our church ministers are fully informed about the Covid-19 health guidelines and are educated about the vaccines, which started rolling out in New Zealand last week.…more


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COVID-19 vaccines – Keeping our families safe

As New Zealand prepares to roll out the first lot of Covid-19 vaccines tomorrow, Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, says he hopes there are good vaccination rates amongst the Pacific community to strengthen their resistance of Covid-19.

Dr Bloomfield and a panel of Pacific health clinicians who are also members of the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA), spoke at a national zoom talanoa last night attended by over 600 Pacific church, community, and youth leaders. Hosted by the Hon. Aupito William Sio, Minister for Pacific Peoples, the focus was on providing information and answering questions regarding the Covid-19 vaccinations.

Dr Bloomfield said, “We are adamant that we do not want New Zealand being the route where Covid-19 gets into the Pacific.

In preparation for our Covid-19 vaccination campaign, we are thinking not just about New Zealand but about our Pacific neighbours, and in particular the countries across the Pacific region.…more


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Family Support Packages available for Pacific families in need

Tevita Funaki, CEO of The Fono - an organisation providing medical and social services to Pacific communities in Auckland and Northland, has a clear message to those needing food and welfare support during the unexpected lockdowns.

“We are ready to respond,” he says.

The Fono and other community organisations across Auckland including Pasifika Futures partners; The Village Community Services Trust, Mt Wellington Integrated Health Care and South Seas Healthcare, mobilised their staff and resources immediately in preparation to support vulnerable families who need urgent assistance.

Since the announcement, Mr Funaki’s team have been working around the clock to restock their shelves, made possible through donations from local businesses and support from the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) through Pasifika Futures - the Whānau Ora commissioning agency for Pacific families.

“We’ve been through this before, this is our third lockdown. Our team are experienced now and are familiar with what support our communities need “, says Mr Funaki.…more


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ALERT LEVEL 3 LOCK DOWN - RECAP, UPDATES & IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Three new community cases in a single South Auckland household were reported yesterday on Valentines Day.  Dr Ashley Bloomfield said last night in a media briefing at 7pm that a mother, father and daughter had tested positive for Covid and had been transferreed to quarantine while the other household contact is isolating at home.

UPDATE: New Covid-19 cases are UK strain and are not lonked to MIQ.  The UK variety of Covid-19 has proven to spread at a far higher rate and could possibly be more deadly than the original.  The PM said one of the most likely routes for transmission, so far, is from an international airline crew member.

University of Otago's public health dept has said that the spread of the virus thru handling of laundry was unlikely.more


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Where do Pasifika fit in the Treaty of Waitangi?

Koro Vaka'uta, RNZ Pacific Journalist

Waitangi Day conjures up different things for different people, but what does it mean for the thousands of Pasifika who live in Aotearoa?

Today Aotearoa-New Zealand marks 180 years since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between the British Crown and a number of Māori chiefs.

But where do our Pasifika whānau weave into that fabric? Do they see themselves as Treaty partners?

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Ali Leota is the president of Tauira Pasifika, the voice of Pacific tertiary students. He was raised in the diverse city of Porirua.

"We make up just under 50 percent of the population and growing up in Porirua, most of my friends were either Pacific or Māori.

"We learnt to grow side by side with one another and we treat each other like family," he said.

"There's always been that mutual respect ... based on the values we grew up [with] and we could relate on everything."

When it came to Pasifika and the treaty, Ali Leota compared it to a pōwhiri.…more


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The Water Tank Project Samoa - By Brown Girl Woke

The Brown Girl Woke Women initiative empowers young girls in primary schools in rural areas of Samoa by investing in their education, aspirations and success.  

Recently the Samoan humanitarian group started 'The Water Tank Project' after doing surveys during the measles epidemic and realising a lot of children that were affected didn’t have basic needs at home and in particular clean water.

Clean water and sanitation: the keys to breaking free from poverty

Access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation are vital for health, especially among children. Poor sanitation, water and hygiene have many serious consequences: Children die from preventable illnesses like diarrhoea; Children – and particularly girls – are denied their right to education because their schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities; Women are forced to spend large parts of their day fetching water; Poor farmers and wage earners are less productive due to illness; Health systems are overwhelmed and national economies suffer.

It's impossible to break the vicious cycle of poverty – and enable sustainable development – without first addressing these issues.…more