Empowering, informative, inspiring and interactive were just some of the enthusiastic comments from participants at the Pasifika Health Promotion workshop in Auckland last week. The Health Promotion Forum’s (HPF) workshop held at the MIT Pasifika Community Centre on June 15 focused on the social determinants of health from a Pacific perspective. The workshop which was facilitated by HPF’s Dr Viliami Puloka was attended by 21 participants from around and outside Auckland. Middlemore Hospital’s Delilah Hutcheson was impressed with the interactive group participation and the facilitator’s knowledge. Ms Hutcheson said she planned to apply and incorporate what she gained from the workshop into their Pacific cultural competency training for new employees. “Some of the contents are invaluable.” Jennifer Beatson of the Nelson Tasman Pacific Community Trust who was attending her first health promotion workshop said she learned so much; she was now eager to attend other health promotion courses. “Health promotion will be an area… we will definitely be looking closely at,” she said. Ngakiri Antonovich of the Northland Pacific Island Charitable Trust Inc said she now felt better and more informed to help Pacific people in Whangarei. “My first introduction to Pacific health only just started two weeks ago. The stats and info provided at the workshop were great and informative.” Having more empathy was also something participants agreed was a key part of the course. “People don’t care what you know until they know how much you care. It is about building relationships, seeing where people are at and not pushing your values and ideas on them,” said Ms Antonovich. Francis Latu of the Waitemata DHB said not only did she have a better understanding of what health promotion was all about but she learned to be more empathetic towards people’s situations. Ms Hutcheson said she would be more aware of her surroundings and interactions with others. “Be proud to share what you know of your culture.” Otara Health Charitable Trust’s Zondervan Fa’alafi said his attitude towards the Pacific community was challenged and renewed as a result of the workshop. “I feel more competent, confident and compassionate in carrying out my work.” Reverend Ifalemi Teisi encouraged other health workers to do the workshop which he described as “inspiring, and encouraging”. Participants also enjoyed the one-plus-one number activity demonstrated by HPF’s Emma Frost, as well as the healthy and tasty morning tea and lunch. “Yum,” was the general consensus. Interesting stats from the workshop: Pacific Profile: 2013 census
  • Pacific peoples make up 7.4% of NZ population
  • Fourth most common ethnic group
  • Two thirds Pacific born in NZ
  • Pacific ethnic profiles numbered 19
  • By 2026 project growth will be 10% of the population so an increase in NZ births, student body and workforce, taxpayer base, voters & consumers
  • Represented by 13 distinct languages and cultural groups born here and in the Pacific
  • High rates of intermarriage (redefining Pacific with mixed ethnicities)
  Banner pic: Dr Viliami Puloka, left, with participants at the Pasifika Health Promotion workshop on June 15.    

Dr Viliami Puloka uses a map to show participants just how vast the Pacific region is. As he says: “Pasifika models enable Pasifika peoples to see the world through their own eyes and experience.”

  Participants listen intently.