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Pan Pacific Fono

Jul 13, 2021 | News

Hosted by Te Aho o te Kahu (Cancer Control Agency) and Tala Pasifika, the Pan Pacific fono was held offering over 100 Pasifika experts, researchers, health and community workers and volunteers the opportunity to “Reconnect, talanoa (share) and learn.”

Pastor Giovani Stowers opened the day with an inspirational message supporting the theme of reconnection. He shared that the world has never been more connected yet disconnected due to phones, social media and distractions. He urged all present to become more connected to what matters – our fanau, tamariki and using our time and energy to let go of distractions and connect to what really matters.

Edward Cowley and Leitu Tufuga (Tala Pasifika) shared a Pacific update on the Smokefree Action plan sharing that over 799 Pasifika fanau and 54 groups were consulted during the submissions process. They encouraged those present to stay focused on the Smokefree 2025 goal and to not give up pressing forward toward seeing a Smokefree Aotearoa.

Stephanie Tautolo (MoH) presented on behalf of Prof. Richard Edwards from Aspire 2025 sharing on Pacific Smoking in Aotearoa for Adolescents. The data was from the annual ASH Year 10 Snapshot survey with detailed findings about risk factors, conducted 2017 by ASPIRE researchers. The research showed that regular smoking is lower than in 2004, but recent increases are concerning. The following recommendations were:

New Zealand tobacco control research and practice needs to reflect the important differences between Pacific ethnicities

Recent trends are concerning. A renewed focus on smoking prevention is urgently needed.

Initiatives to promote smokefree homes and cars should be a prevention priority.

Greater investment is needed in ‘By Pacific, for Pacific’ community action to achieve Pacific Smokefree aspirations

The need is greatest in Cook Island Māori communities, who may require greater support to achieve equity of outcomes.

Ane Fa’aui, Community Engagement Liaison from Moana Research shared about all the amazing mahi that Moana Research do in research, advocacy, Pacific Data sovereignty, e-learning courses and Moana-ed. Moana Research engage with our communities and families providing essential insights that contribute to their research.

Maria Lafaele joined us with a Pacific Covid Update. She spoke passionately that a call to action was needed for our Pacific communities to get vaccinated. The Fono Henderson has opened west Auckland’s first Pacific focused COVID-19 vaccination centre and another in Ōtara to ensure the local Pacific community are able to access the COVID-19 vaccination in a setting which is comfortable and familiar to them. Finau Glen Tuala was present and shared of the importance of educating our parents as the generation ‘in the middle’. Language barriers, lack of technology, transport and difficulty accessing the Healthline or booking system were reasons as to why Pasifika has had issues with getting vaccinated. Glen shared that group bookings are ideal and have been working well. If you have a group that you would like to be vaccinated you can let us know here and we can pass your details on to Maria.

The last portion of the day was a presentation and talanoa workshop with Te Aho o te Kahu on ‘Barriers to Cancer Care’ with Prof. Diana Sarfati, Prof. David Schaaf and Rachael Tatafu. The rich stories from the talanoa was so moving as Cancer survivors or whānau of, shared their personal experiences with barriers they’ve encountered on their cancer journey. Te Aho o te Kahu lead fundamental change in the prevention and treatment of cancer in Aotearoa and have been facilitating these conversations over various hui all over the motu in the hopes to connect, support and provide hope for those affected by Cancer.

The day concluded with catering from Blue Rose and entertainment from Ura Tabu, a leading female Pacific dance collective creating opportunities that nourish Pasifika communities by presenting meaningful and courageous dance experiences that connect people from across Te Moana nui a Kiwa and beyond.

If you are Pasifika and have a passion to reduce health inequities for Pasifika please email ruthie.nielsen@hapai.co.nz and we will keep you on our database for future fono and events.

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