Exposing future leaders to health promotion

HPF’s Dr Viliami Puloka encouraged Tongan tertiary students at
their annual National Tertiary Students’ conference in Dunedin from July 3 to 8 to view health in a holistic way.

Health is a resource to do life and contribute to life, not the object of living

Health is not something you can buy or order online

Health is everything that you are, and you are growing it

Health will stop growing unless tender loving care (TLC) is given at all times.

These comments were made by Dr Puloka while introducing the topic of his workshop to nearly 200 Tongan students at their annual National Tertiary Students’ conference in Dunedin from July 3 to 8.

Dr Puloka’s workshop, which was one of five workshops at the conference hosted by the Otago Tongan Students’ Association, was Life and Health. The other themes were Religion, Kava, Tongan dancing and Tongan arts and crafts.

Dr Puloka said he was thankful that he represented the HPF team in contributing to the development of future leaders of Pacific communities with Tongan heritage here in New Zealand and in the islands.

He said this was an example of HPF training and exposing future Pacific leaders early to a health promotion approach.

“Young people are so important in the scheme of things, especially if we have the ability to reach them at university level. These are our future leaders.

“It’s an obligation, as well a privilege on our part to contribute to the development of these young people who will go on to become leaders in their country, families, community, church and so on. It is in our best interest to contribute and empower them to be the best leaders they can be.”

Dr Puloka encouraged the students to look at health from a holistic perspective and not to limit their view of health to just the physical. 

He explained the determinants of health and stressed that health must be grown, looked after and given TLC.

Dr Puloka was impressed with the conference atmosphere adding that it was full of energy and allowed for “very active talanoa (discussion and sharing of ideas)”.

“I was very impressed with the attendance at the workshop, 66 in total, given the fact they had their ball the night before.”

Part of the cultural day was the dancing competition in the evening.

“I was so appreciative of the students’ contribution to maintain culture, language, poetry and lots more through music and dance,” added Dr Puloka.