Pacific-led initiatives, for Pacific is a theme emerging from a series of fono taking place around the country.
On Thursday, the Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon. Aupito William Sio and his Ministry ventured to the Deep South to engage with Pacific communities in Invercargill, at the Lalanga Fou Fono – Tulī Takes Flight.
It is the first South Island-based fono in a series of events where the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) aim to reconnect with Pacific communities 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.
The Pacific population is rapidly increasing, and MPP’s visit was received well from the community in Invercargill who gathered to hear the Minister speak; and listen to presentations by health, education and social services provider the Pacific Island Advisory Cultural Trust (PIACT); and Mīharo (formerly known as Murihiku Māori and Pasifika Charitable Trust), which seeks to uplift and celebrate Māori and Pacific cultures and provide opportunities for rangatahi and their whanau.
With more than 60 percent of Pacific peoples born in New Zealand, MPP has changed its vision to help the community thrive.
The Lalanga Fou report highlights the need to shift the focus from government-led to Pacific-led solutions and identify areas that need attention – something being echoed by Pacific communities at the fono.
Southland PIACT hosted the event, and Chairman Dr. George Ngaei says he was intrigued to hear what Minister Sio had to say.
He feels the Pacific community has been a low priority to past governments.
In the report, Sio says he acknowledges a need for the communities to support change and innovation by working together.
Examples of this type of action were outlined in the presentations by PIACT and Mīharo .
Next week, Minister Sio and the MPP team head to Oamaru on May 24 and Dunedin on May 25 for more talanoa.