Working to improve and promote pacific health
There are about 14,000 Pacific people living in the Community and Public Health region (Canterbury, South Canterbury and the West Coast). This includes from Pacific nations such as Samoa, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue, Fiji, Tokelau and Tuvalu.
Pacific communities are built around the churches and ethnic councils that play an important part in community life. Many Pacific people have limited knowledge of the New Zealand health system such as the services that are available and how to access them.
Our Pacific Health Promoter strives to work across the areas of health that affect Pacific communities. This includes leading the Pacific-focussed part of the All Right? campaign, and acting as a link between the health system and Pacific ethnic communities.
Some examples of how Community and Public Health works with the Pacific community include:
- Building awareness in the Pacific ethnic communities to identify and respond to issues that affect their health.
- Co-ordinating public health education programmes for Pacific on relevant health issues, including nutrition and physical activity.
- Providing advice on issues that affect the health of local Pacific ethnic communities.
- Acting as a point of reference for health agencies wishing to communicate with different Pacific communities.
- Raising awareness for health professionals on Pacific cultural needs and perspectives.
- Disseminating relevant information and resources to the Pacific community, and ensuring that the available information provided is up-to-date and culturally appropriate.
- Ongoing networking and consultation with the Pacific ethnic communities, including attendance at Pacific ethnic councils and other interagency meetings.
- Working collaboratively with Pacific health organisations on relevant health promotion issues.
Community and Public Health also has a working group called Senibua that supports staff to implement effective action to improve Pacific health outcomes and reduce Pacific health inequities. This includes promoting Pacific Language Weeks during the year.
Taking action on Pacific Health: New Action Plan being developed
The Government has announced work is under way on a new Pacific Health Action Plan in an important step towards improving the health and wellbeing of all Pacific people in New Zealand.
“It’s been a priority of mine – and of this entire Government – to improve health equities and outcomes as well as to improve access to quality healthcare for all New Zealanders,” Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa says.
“It’s an unfortunate reality that there’s still much more work to be done to achieve health equities for Pacific people. That’s why it’s crucial we develop this new plan. I’ve asked officials at the Ministry of Health to develop the new plan and make sure it looks at all the key aspects of improving Pacific health outcomes.”
The new Pacific Health Action Plan will replace the earlier ’Ala Mo’ui: Pathways to Pacific Health and Wellbeing which ran between 2014–2018.
“I also want to see officials working across the sector and across different government agencies to see what else is needed to improve the health of Pacific peoples. That could mean a renewed focus on health through broader social and economic factors outside the health system, such as housing and education,” says Jenny Salesa.
Thirteen community and sector talanoa were held across New Zealand during August and September 2019.
Download or order resources from the Community Health Information Centre. Some resources are available in several Pacific languages.
The Ministry of Health is no longer providing printed copies of some resources in Pacific languages.
Download and print Ministry of Health resources by Pacific language (HealthEd).
For further information, contact:
Ph: +64 3 364 1777
Fax: +64 3 379 6125
Pacific health providers and services
Pacific Alcohol and Drug Helpline
0800 787 799
Ph: +64 3 379 1739
Etu Pasifika Health Clinic
Ph: +64 3 365 1002
Tangata Atu Motu Trust
Ph: +64 3 940 5692
Vaka Tautua – Disability Information Advisory Services
Ph: +64 3 376 4677 or 0800 825 282
Fale Pasifika O Aoraki
Ph: +64 3 687 7585
Pacifically Speaking from All Right?
This resource was specifically designed for Pacific fanau with primary school children. It is made up of two sets of cards:
- the Pacifically Fun Stuff set describes a variety of activities for families to do together; and
- the Pacifically Speaking set is made up conversation starters.
O Luga o le Motu App launched
The Tino e Tasi Preschool in Christchurch, has broken barriers with the launch of a Samoan Language App produced in-house and with the direct participation of its own pre-schoolers!
Zohar Marshall of Tino e Tasi says the O Luga o le Motu App was produced by asking the three to four year-olds at the pre-school to draw a picture of a game they like to play on a tablet or phone at home.
The idea behind the App was to make learning a game and something the tamaiti would relate to. “The kids were at the centre of the project from the very start and it’s their ideas that drove it. It is interactive and has a real Sesame Street vibe. They just love it,” Zohar says.