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Papua New Guinea community wellbeing at forefront of funding  

Papua New Guinea community wellbeing at forefront of funding  

  • 06 Jun 2023
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(Picture caption: The Palmerston North Papua New Guinea Community Trust supports the wantok community in the Manawatu to thrive.) 

Nestled in the far reaches of the Manawatu, the Palmerston North Papua New Guinea Community Trust is supporting wantoks in the region to thrive. 

Acting as a hub for Papua New Guinea (PNG) people in Palmerston North, the Trust aims to maintain, advance and celebrate PNG’s diverse cultural and spiritual values, says Chairperson Paul Titus.

Education, health, economic development and wellbeing is at the heart of the Trust’s work, along with promoting and advocating PNG participation and contribution to the broader society, Paul adds.

While the worst of the pandemic is behind us, the Trust has been integral in keeping the PNG community informed, safe and well throughout the variant surges, with the support of the Pacific Aotearoa Community Outreach Omicron Fund. 

The Omicron Fund was established to support Pacific communities throughout New Zealand to prepare, respond and recover from the social and health impacts of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. 

“We applied for the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) funding to help PNG, Vanuatu, Solomon Island and West Papua student communities residing in Palmerston North who were affected by COVID-19 and Omicron,” Paul explains. 

“This funding really helped us to help our communities … over 64 families including students were assisted and we still provide ongoing Wantok Care Packages for families.”  

Not only were families provided with care packages during the lockdowns, but funding also allowed us to establish partnership with Roses Pharmacy in Palmerston North to provide ongoing COVID-19 support and care for our wantoks in Palmerston North. 

Paul says the Trust would not have been able to support the community in the way it did, had it not been for the funding they received. 

“We are very grateful for the support provided by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples – it helped provide care for our families and students from all over Melanesia, living here in Palmerston North. 

“Our Trust was acknowledged by the current Prime Minister Rt Hon Chris Hipkins and we received a medal for the work we did in supporting our minority community throughout the surges of COVID-19 and Omicron – it has been very rewarding.” 

The show must go on for the Trust, who has much more to accomplish for Wantok communities in the Manawatu. 

With the goal of creating positive change, the Trust continues to provide COVID-19 support to its community. 

Its members are also planning to take part in the Food and Cultural Festival in Palmerston North early next year and it runs regular bilum making workshops. 

Next year, it will be heavily involved in the National Tokpisin Language Week (September 9-16, 2024), as well as the annual PNG Independence Celebration in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Keep up to date with events and activities on the Palmerston North Papua New Guinea Community Trust website