The Fono

Health & Social Services

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Dedicated to Family Wellbeing

Registered social worker Salome Finau once worked as a teacher and a factory worker before becoming a fulltime caregiver for her mother. Her previous roles all contributed to Salome’s drive to work towards helping those who need it the most. As part of The Fono’s Family Care Team, Salome is committed to assisting Pacific families who have experienced family violence.

Just a few weeks into her role, social worker Salome knows making the move to The Fono was the best thing for her.

“I am outcome-driven,” says the Tongan born-and-raised Salome.

“I would like to see more positive outcomes for our clients because the reason why we’re here is to make change.”

Salome acknowledges that actively working towards improving the wellbeing of a family who have experienced family violence is a sensitive subject.

In Tonga, Salome was a teacher in the village of Nukunuku for almost a decade. On her 28th birthday, she wanted to have a change of career and decided moving to New Zealand with her family would provide more options.

Recognising she was likely to be the main earner for the family, Salome worked in factory jobs to look after and provide for her family financially. Then her mother’s care needs increased.

“I left my job and committed myself to looking after my mum,” she recalls.

At this time, she also became aware of her calling to further her studies. With the help of her older siblings, Salome began to study at the University of Auckland, attaining a Bachelor of Social Work.

“While I looked after my mum, I studied,” she recalls.

“My sisters would care for her when I went to classes, but I did all my work and assignments at home.”

After graduating, she began her social work career with Barnardos as a community support worker, recruiting stay-at-home mums with children under 5, before moving to another Pacific provider for four years as a social worker.

“I wanted to help out my people, so after four years I decided to move to The Fono,” she recalls.

“I wanted to expand my knowledge and work with other ethnicities, I like working with Pacific people.”

It’s this drive to help the wider Pacific community that led Salome to The Fono’s Family Care Team to work with people experiencing domestic violence.

The Fono offers a crisis intervention service for Waitemata Pacific families who are experiencing family violence issues. The specialised social work support service is actively involved with the Police, working in partnership to strengthen families and communities.

Each family’s needs are assessed and an action plan is developed by the social worker which may include linking the family to the most appropriate services to address any ongoing needs.

“I’ve talked to people who don’t feel safe but don’t know what to do,” she says.

“I’m driven to help and to educate people about where to get help and work towards a safer environment for their family.”

Find out more 

Family Violence Service 

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