Case Studies, Pacific

The Fono: a health promotion model with a Pacific focus

Health Promotion Forum works with organisations at all levels of health promotion and social development.  It is forging close working relationships with leaders in the field, to strengthen the health promotion movement. The Fono is working to address health and inequality in communities across Auckland and Northland. Jo Lawrence-King talked to its Chief Executive Tevita Funaki; who recently joined HPF’s board. The connection between HPF and The Fono is clear.  HPF’s own definition of the profession emphasises its focus on “empowering people and communities to take control of their health and wellbeing.” “At the Fono we value the significant importance of Health Promotion,” agrees Tevita.  “We work closely with families to address their health needs. We provide health education and social support; ensuring both economic and social needs are addressed.  We work with churches to develop their health activities to support a healthy environment both for their homes and churches.”     The Fono: a model of Pacific health promotion The Fono is a health service committed to reducing health inequalities in the communities in which it operates.  It finds innovative ways to deliver culturally appropriate services across all its locations. The Fono works to foster well, safe, vibrant communities and has a commitment to meeting the cultural needs of the people in these communities.  These include its original area of West Auckland (based in Henderson) as well as:

  • Central Auckland (the CBD)
  • South Auckland (Manurewa)
  • West Central Auckland (Blockhouse Bay)
  • Northland (Kaikohe)
The Fono operates a comprehensive model of care, with a full range of affordable health services to people who need it most.  Its services include medical, dental, pharmacy, health promotion, social services, education and Whanau Ora.  It has a focus on reaching Pacific Peoples with its stop smoking programme. Pacific people have been identified as being hard to reach by conventional stop smoking efforts[1]. With its community-led scope of services, its expertise and geographic spread, The Fono delivers stop-smoking services to Pacific peoples across the metropolitan Auckland region.  This region represents 65% of all Pacific smokers in New Zealand according to needs data[2] (26,523 of the national total of 41,139). From its beginnings 25 years ago, as a West Auckland community-developed GP clinic, The Fono today provides an integrated range of services in five locations across Auckland and Northland. An experienced leader in Pacific health In July this year Tevita Funaki celebrated his sixth anniversary as Chief Executive Officer of The Fono.  Backed by an extensive career working with Pacific communities in health and education, and himself of Tongan heritage, Tevita leads the operational arm of the organisation. Tevita explained his motivation for accepting the role: “I am passionate about Pacific wellbeing and development. Developing our model of care ensures that our services address the holistic needs of Pacific people and support our family to realise their full potential.” Tevita was previously the Pacific Health Manager for ProCare Health Ltd and the National Pasifika Liaison Advisor for Massey University. He has also managed an Employment Consultancy and Project Management Services firm and worked in health services for many years. Despite already being on many influential boards, Tevita accepted his nomination to HPF’s board and took up his role in ……. [month?].  He sees the relationship between The Fono and HPF as mutually beneficial.  “HPF’s success can only be beneficial to organisations like ours; supporting our work and upholding its principles of community-lead health,” he says. Bringing with him strong governance and business experience, Tevita has an excellent understanding of the health sector, funding environment and the political landscape.   We look forward to working more closely with Tevita and the people of The Fono.

[1] Ibid  p.31
[2] Review of Tobacco Control Services – Shore /2014 – MoH – College of Health, Massey University – Smoking number and prevalence (ordered by number of Pacific smokers)         October 2016 Jo Lawrence-King