In the first of a series of regional fono around Aotearoa Minister for Pacific Peoples, Hon. Aupito William Sio has stressed that Pacific communities are the owners of Pacific wellbeing and culture, and need to lead the design and delivery of services for Pacific people.
The Minister spoke at the Lalanga Fou Fono - Tulī Takes Flight event in Hamilton on Friday – the first of a series of fono to be held around Aotearoa during 2019.
There are nine regional fono planned, and they follow on from last year’s successful Pacific Aotearoa Summit, in November.
“The Summit was a great success and it’s now time to get the show on the road,” Minister Sio says.
“We want to hear from local communities across the country and see how we can work together to achieve the goals agreed at the Summit.”
The Pacific Aotearoa Summit was the culmination of a year-long and nationwide talanoa, that highlighted Thriving Pacific Languages, Cultures and Identities; Prosperous Pacific Communities; Resilient and Healthy Pacific Peoples; Confident, Thriving and Resilient Pacific young people.
Over 2,500 Pacific people contributed to the talanoa and over 60 percent were young people.
The highlights have been published in the Pacific Aotearoa Lalanga Fou report.
“Our communities need to lead the design and delivery of services for Pacific communities,” the Minister says.
“That’s what these Lalanga Fou fono are about - I’m here to listen and see how our communities and central government can work together to achieve our aspirations.”
Another key purpose and focus of the Lalanga Fou fono is to discuss and explore the $8.85 million boost the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has provided for the Ministry’s Pacific Employment Support Service initiative.
The boost in funding means MPP can now extend the highly successful scheme to most regions in Aotearoa.
A priority for these fono is to make sure regional communities are taking full advantage of the scheme, and that potential providers are engaged, he adds.
Organisations from the Waikato region including Waikato Pacific Business Network, K’aute Pasifika Trust, InWork and The Talents of the Pacific Academy ran workshops at Friday’s fono, providing information about the services they offer.
Minister Sio says he is eager to engage with these supporting agencies since the regional Lalanga Fou fono are all about connecting and influencing.
“The Lalanga Fou fono are an opportunity to find out about new initiatives our regional communities are taking and how central government can best align with and support these.
“It’s about working together and maximising our resources so we can create the thriving, resilient and prosperous Pacific Aotearoa that is our vision for the future,” he adds.