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Engaging with Southland’s growing Pacific population

Engaging with Southland’s growing Pacific population

  • 10 May 2019
The wonderful Murihiku Maori and Pasifika Charitable Trust 2018 Polyfest staff and volunteer team.

Southland is just one region in New Zealand which is starting to notice a burgeoning Pacific population.

On May 16, the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) will facilitate Lalanga Fou, Tulī Takes Flight fono, at Pacific Island Advisory and Culture Trust (PIACT) Community Centre in the Southland centre of Invercargill.

The Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon. Aupito William Sio, and MPP aim to reconnect with Pacific communities at the fono while sharing the Pacific Aotearoa Vision and priority areas identified in the Lalanga Fou report, as well as highlight opportunities that have arisen since the Pacific Vision Summit in November 2018.  

Invercargill-based Murihiku Māori and Pasifika Charitable Trust, which seeks to uplift and celebrate Māori and Pacific cultures and provide opportunities for rangatahi and their whanau, is one of the organisations presenting at the fono.

Trust founding member and Coordinator Pauline Smith says with the growing number of Pacific communities residing in Southland, it is great to see the fono being brought to the people.

Of Samoan, Tuvaluan, Scottish and Irish decent, Pauline’s background is in teaching, specialising in Pacific studies. 

She is kept busy at the Trust, which has the vision to “support Māori and Pacific people and culture to thrive”. 

“We run an annual programme of events which include Polyfest, tamariki art exhibition and workshops for youth,” Pauline says. 

“We have introduced a youth mentoring arm which supports youth in real life work experience and forging future pathways and we also support arts, culture, education and youth by supporting and hosting exhibitions and openings, offering cultural competency workshops, hosting cultural arts groups and offering cultural support.” 

The Trust decided to participate in the fono, because its organisational values, vision and purpose aligns with those within Lalanga Fou, Pauline adds.

It also has some goals it would like to achieve at the fono, including developingmore relationships and connections across the local Pacific community, and throughout Aotearoa.

“We also hope to become more informed about resources, opportunities and services that can support our Trust to support others; and we hope we can further promote what we do so more people can have access to our services.”

Health, education and social services provider PIACT will also share its insights at the fono.

Lalanga Fou, Tulī Takes Flight fono is on May 16, at PIACT, 135 Bowmont St, Invercargill, from 5.30pm until 8.30pm.