Health & Well Being

ASD Dads | Creating Safe Spaces for Autistic Children

Jordan Lee Ikitule created a group for Fathers of Autistic Children in the hopes of creating more safe spaces for children with ASD and their families. 

In a bid to create safer spaces and events for Autistic children and their families, Jordan has held multiple events to do just that. Hosting events not only for ASD children to be unapologetically themselves, but also for Fathers of ASD children to come together and share in their experiences.

The group continue to hold events, and have plans to host information evenings for the wider families of Autistic Children to come and learn more about their nieces/nephews/grandchildren etc. Since it's conception ASD Dads events have consistently sold out within the first day of posting - indicating the massive need for these accessible events.

By Destiny Momoiseā
Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air

Health & Well Being

Breast Cancer Awareness: Debbie Sorensen

Pasifika Medical Association Chief Executive, Debbie Sorensen, wife to Peter Cann, a daughter, loving mother and grandmother, opens up about her personal breast cancer journey for the first time.

With unwavering strength and resilience, Mrs Sorensen aims to raise awareness about the importance of early breast cancer screenings and to shed light on the significance of self-care for women in Pacific communities.

Debbie Sorensen is the chief executive of the Pasifika Medical Association, the largest Pacific non-governmental organisation in New Zealand, and for 16 years she has helmed the entity with a strong and confident style of leadership.

You can read more about her story here

Health & Well Being

Our Voice - David's Story

Father, artist and leader of a South Auckland based non-profit community fitness program, David Toailoa shares what helped him through tough times following the tragic loss of his son and during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Mana Pasifika extends a huge thank you to David and his wife Ema for sharing their story with us. Fa’afetai tele lava.

Please be aware that this video addresses infant loss, we are aware that this may be a difficult topic for some viewers.

Health & Well Being

Redefining Strength: Manumalo Muasau Addresses Abuse and Trauma in Pacific Islander Culture

By Loveni Enari 

What's better for Pacific Islanders’ mental health than a laugh with your mates about the hidings you got as kids?

You know the stories … with the jandal, the stick, at school, in front of mates, the whole church; the time Mum was throwing stones at me while I was running away, she was telling my cousins to catch me and they had to, but they were really sad about it; the time Dad went overboard with the hockey stick … oops, maybe that’s not so funny, but there are many more, aren’t there? Too many, maybe?

And then the laugh and ‘Ehh, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, no?’ Or the tough sounding, ‘It was nothing more than your average PI kid got, no more.’ Or, ‘It’s good trauma. Toughens you up.…more

Health & Well Being

Lalaga Card Game Brings Warmth and Connection to Conversations

In a world that often seems too digitally connected but emotionally disconnected, a group of Pasifika women have introduced a refreshing way to bridge the gap and foster genuine human connections.

Lalaga, a card game developed by Torisse Laulu and her team (including Gabby Manu, Lauren Wepa, and Atelaite Mapa), promises to revive and elevate the art of conversation with its blend of warmth, humour, and meaningful discourse.

Lalaga was launched to much fanfare on Tuesday 5th, September but lalaga, a term that means 'to weave,' is more than just a game; it's an opportunity to reconnect with friends, family, or even potential new connections in a heartfelt way. With five levels of questions and prompts, Lalaga offers players the flexibility to customise their conversations and delve into varying depths of topics.

Torisse Laulu, the creator of Lalaga, drew inspiration from the rich Pasifika culture of talanoa, emphasising honest and open discourse. She believes that in today's world, where online interactions dominate, there's a genuine need to nurture relational spaces for connection.…more

Health & Well Being

“I Owe It to Myself to Get Well” - Al Sagapolutele

Al Sagapolutele was always the “big guy.” As a result of poor eating and drinking habits, he weighed as much as 485 lb. after college.

A few years ago, Sagapolutele suffered a heart attack, and treatment left him with three stents. He also had sciatic nerve pain, a herniated disk and spinal stenosis in two parts of his lower lumbar region. After multiple doctors told him he needed to lose weight, a desperate Sagapolutele saw a gastric-bypass surgeon. When a good friend questioned whether Sagapolutele had done everything possible to lose the weight naturally, Sagapolutele admitted he hadn’t.

A year and a half ago, Sagapolutele started one-on-one sessions with Dorian Shockey, owner of CrossFit Resurgens in Atlanta, Georgia. Though Sagapolutele had tried other gyms in the past, this was like talking to a friend, he said. He eventually progressed to the affiliate’s beginners course, then regular classes.

More than anything, Sagapolutele was struck by the sense of community and supportive atmosphere at CrossFit Resurgens.…more

Health & Well Being

A HipHop Step Class Changes Peoples Lives

We join the Xtreme HipHop instructors as they host a lively and special step class to welcome the creator of the fitness class Phil Weedan.

Phil also known as "The Creator" is world famous steo instructor. He stumbled onto his love of fitness by accident when he started his own fitness journey to transform his body and to combat his depression. Phil became a certified personal trainer in 2008. Then in 2013, Phil stepped out on faith and opened his own gym, Naturally Gifted Fitness Center located in Cleveland Heights. This is where the idea for Xtreme Hip Hop was born. Members of the gym wanted a step class, but he couldn’t keep a step instructor. Phil decided to embark on the journey of teaching the step class himself, but his first order of business was to find music that motivated him to move, and that’s exactly what he did.

Phil’s step class is now a worldwide hit.…more

Health & Well Being

Staircase Challenge for Mental Health Awareness

* Trigger warning - this article contains discussions about mental health issues & suicide. 

After having three of his close friends reach out to him during lockdown to let him know they were struggling, young Samoan/kiwi Steven Edgar decided he needed to take action and try to raise more awareness around mental health issues & suicide.

The 22 year old said it really hit home when one of those friends tried to take his own life.  "My mate ended up in a coma after attempting to take his life and after he woke up from the coma I was like that's it! I really need to do something to raise awareness.  

I'd come across this guy on instagram (dancer Dave Kuresa), who had shared doing a 12 hour staircase challenge to raise awareness around mental health in Brisbane and I thought 'I could do that here in Auckland and try raise awareness here'" he said.…more

Health & Well Being

Safe Sleep Day focuses on unexplained infant deaths

via RNZ Pacific 

There is a call for Pacific peoples to rally around parents of newborns today, Safe Sleep Day.

My Baby's Village is an initiative led by the Pacific Infant Care Collective that aims to ensure Pacific parents of newborns have all the support they need to keep their baby safe.

The organisation said there has been a spike in unexplained deaths among infants across Auckland over the past two years.

SUDI, or Sudden Unexplained Death in Infancy, describes when a baby dies from an unexplained cause or through accidental and preventable circumstances.

About half of the Auckland region's SUDI deaths each year are Pacific tamariki.

Police National Partnerships Manager for Pacific Peoples Superintendent Fata Willi Fanene said the call "for more support follows stubbornly high rates of Pacific infant SUDI across Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland over the last decade."

She said Pacific people make up almost 15 percent of Tamaki Makarau's population yet Pacific babies make up 40 to 50 percent of SUDI deaths in Auckland each year, with most in deprived areas.…more

Health & Well Being

Let's Talanoa with Pacific Youth Advocate & Educational Psychologist Sonia Pope

This week on Let's Talanoa, Dr Lesina interviews well known Pacific Youth Advocate and Educational Psychologist, Sonia Pope. 

Together they talk about the things that our young people are facing each day as they navigate through COVID-19, vaccine passes, different opinions and more.  Listen up for Sonia's practical tips!