In the current COVID-19 environment it is the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) priority to keep Pacific communities in New Zealand aware and up to date with key information, as well as discover where MPP can be of service to its communities.
Over the past week, while Auckland sat in alert level three, the Ministry has been engaging with Pacific communities in New Zealand’s largest city, in a series of MPP Auckland Church Leaders Daily Zono, with MPP Chief Executive Laulu Mac Leauanae and CE for the Counties Manukau District Health Board Fepuleai Margi Apa, followed by nine Ethnic Specific Zono.
The objectives of the online fono via Zoom (zono) has been to ensure Pacific communities keep up with the status of COVID-19 cases in Auckland and understand the testing process; as well as understand key messages at a regional and local level being relayed by the Government and health authorities.
The zono have also helped communities to understand key health messages about COVID-19 from our Ministry of Health Pacific clinicians; about where to get tested; what it means to be a close or casual contact; who needs to be tested where positive cases are confirmed in churches or workplaces; as well as clearly outlining the welfare support available through the Ministry of Social Development and Pacific providers.
Deputy Chief Executive - Regional Partnerships Aiolupotea Sina Aiono says the talented MPP staff language speakers facilitated most of the ethnic specific zono, apart from Kiribati, Rotuma and Tokelau where we engaged the support of our communities.
“We facilitated the other six - Samoa, Niue - which Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio attended, Tonga, Cook Islands, Tuvalu, and Fiji really well,” Aiolupotea says.
“It was a great opportunity for MPP staff to facilitate the zono in their native tongue languages, while having the support of communities to facilitate the meetings.
“Our team has been able to share together in the reo, hear where help and assistance is needed going forward in Pacific communities.”
In what are unprecedented times, the zono have proved a great source of information – for both the Pacific community, and for MPP to utilise in its efforts to create healthy, resilient, and prosperous Pacific peoples in Aotearoa.