The Fono

Health & Social Services

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Facilitating Change

Fononga Le’aliki is a new member of The Fono’s Family Care Team, committed to assisting Pacific families who have experienced family violence. As a counsellor, his main passion is the facilitation of change in the lives of those he helps, by supporting them with crisis support advocacy and offering information.

Coming from a large family of eight children, Fononga understands the patience required in dealing with the dynamics of various family members.

Born to Tongan parents living in Vanuatu, Fononga’s father was from Kolomotu’a on the main island of Tongatapu and his mother was from Leimatua in Vava’u.

The family lived in Vanuatu until the civil war in the early 1980s, when the former French and British colony known as the New Hebrides gained independence. The unrest saw the family move back to Tonga.

As he grew older, Fononga sought opportunities and followed his interests to the University of the South Pacific in Fiji studying theology. In 2011 he came to New Zealand and studied at the Bethlehem Tertiary Institute in Tauranga. It was where he met his wife to be. After attaining his degree in counselling, the pair moved back to Tonga, where they married.

The couple have a 17-month old son and returned to New Zealand in 2016. Fononga continued to develop his skills as a counsellor, securing a role in The Fono’s Family Care Team.

The focus of the team in caring for families who have experienced family violence appealed to Fononga, whose passion in facilitating change to improve people’s lives continued to grow.

“At The Fono, you have the freedom to actually do your job,” he says.

He receives satisfaction knowing he is able to improve the lives of clients referred to him from the courts, the Ministry of Justice, or internally through The Fono’s other services.

The Family Care Team also delivers safety programmes in the homes, with women and children who have protection orders put in place.

He’s happy to know that families are getting to a safe place and that people gain a better understanding of family violence.

Fononga says there are many different types of violence and it’s his job to educate the families, so that they can recognise when it occurs and get the help needed to keep their loved ones safe.

“To know that there was lots of violence before, but that they’re now in a safer place, is a massive goal for us to work towards when working with each family,” he explains.

It’s a worthy goal which Fononga is committed to achieving.

Find out more 

Family Violence Service 

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