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!  

Health & Well Being

Rally call for Samoans in Auckland to get vaccinated

Via The Cause Collective 

Samoans across Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland are being encouraged to get vaccinated to increase the vaccination rate for Samoans, the largest population of  Pacific peoples. 

With Samoans being the largest ethnicity of the Covid-19 cases in the most recent outbreak of the Delta variant in South Auckland, local community leaders and Pacific health providers are encouraging Samoans to make the decision to get vaccinated. 

In Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland, there are approximately 120,000 people that identify as Samoans, which makes up the largest population of 244,000 Pacific people in the region. 

“We are calling out to the Samoan community in Auckland, particularly South Auckland to make the decision to get vaccinated to protect the health and wellbeing of their aiga (family), loved ones, ekalesia (church) and community,” says Senior General Practitioner, Doctor Sirovai Fuata’i. 

“As we have seen with each Covid-19 outbreak, Pacific and Māori people are highly vulnerable to the virus given our social way of life and many live with pre-existing health conditions.…more

Health & Well Being

Viliami: A personal encounter - Mental Health Awareness Week

33 year old Viliami aka Villz shares his personal journey with mental health and learning to seek help after struggling with suicidal thoughts and depression.

"I was raised to be tough, to be a warrior, to push your emotions to the side and not show any kind of feelings that were classed as weak.  This led me to find it very difficult to speak up and seek help when I fell into a dark place ... I had suicidal and negative thoughts daily ... I just wanted to die ... I couldn't see I needed help until my wife and kids brought it to my attention" 


Villz who is of Tongan heritage and his wife Nikki, live in Sydney and have 5 children.  They recently set up an anti-suicide campaign geared towards encouraging individuals who are facing mental health issues to speak up and seek help. 

They started their own mental health movement through their business Poly Kidz to help raise much needed awareness for mental health and suicide prevention over the last couple of years.…more