Pacific community united during Covid

Unity, effective leadership, clear communication and collaboration were highlighted in a webinar run by HPF as some of the key factors that helped boost the resilience of the Pacific community in Aotearoa NZ through all the alert levels, including lockdown Dr Seini Taufa the Research and Evaluation Lead for Moana Research and Dr Colin Tukuitonga the Associate Dean Pacific, at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences were the key speakers at the webinar held yesterday. (June 30) ‘Appropriate Covid-19 Response with a Pacific lens moving to the future’ was the last of HPF’s special series of webinars aimed at advising and guiding organisations and communities through Covid-19. We will let you know when the webinar is uploaded to our Youtube channel Dr Taufa discussed the key factors she believed helped the Pacific community get through the crisis so successfully. These included working together collectively and collaboratively and good leadership utilising the three major health promotion strategies of the Ottawa Charter: to advocate; mediate and enable. She pointed out that clear and transparent communication, particularly during this era of social media and livestreaming, was crucial as we are constantly bombarded by messages and information, some accurate and some inaccurate. For Pacific communities she emphasised the importance of providing ‘ethnic-specific’ information and how the messenger was just as important as the message. Also important in moving forward, she stressed was the need for more Pacific-led research. Dr Tukuitonga said he was impressed with how we [Pacific] got on as a community and that communication, unity and cohesion were key to our success. “… we worked well together … We need to maintain this cohesion to combat future threats.” Dr Tukuitonga warned that the Covid crisis was clearly not over in New Zealand and that the community must continue to be vigilant and practise good hygiene, social distancing, and other precautionary measures. It was important that measures at the borders continue to be robust and as tight as they can be, he urged. Dr Tukuitonga also addressed the escalation of racism during Covid-19 and the need to continue to fight the long-term threat to the Pacific Islands and the world – climate change.