Malo Team Fono!
This edition of Nius covers many projects and initiatives close to my heart and indeed the heart of The Fono and its purpose. It is particularly pleasing that the mix of highlighted events and accomplishments reflect both the long-term investments The Fono has made in well established programmes with partners such as Enua Ola as well as fast response projects like the Vaccination Centre set up at Westgate.
The 2021 Enua Ola Outrigger Health Challenge Awards on the 19th of June at The Trusts Arena allowed us to share the vision that created it and gain insight into what has long been The Fono’s Public Health Section’s flagship programme. It has proved to be a wonderful example of what can be achieved by a funder, provider and the community working together on wellbeing for our people.
We also celebrate the establishment of the Pacific Location Vaccination Centre in Westgate. Hard work and long hours by The Fono team to set it up. The Centre is bringing new people into The Fono family as vaccinators and administrators and is regularly exceeding targets.
It was an emotional day for me and many others attending the Oceania Career Academy new Campus opening. To see the facilities, listen to the OCA Choir and to experience first-hand the success stories of Pacific youth was the fulfilment of a dream, endorsed by OCA’s recent Category One Tertiary Institution ranking.
With the expansion of our integrated model of care services we have recently promoted and appointed new members to The Fono’s Senior Management Team (SMT). Having them all contribute so positively at a recent planning retreat reinforced good decisions on selection.
Finally, I would like very much to congratulate Board Member Neil Woodhams on his Queen Birthday honour being made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to people with multiple sclerosis. Neil has been a valued Board Member of The Fono Trust since 2014.
Pacific Westgate Shopping Centre Covid-19 Vaccination Center Opens
After several extremely busy weeks of planning, training, construction and decorating, three stripped out Westgate shop lots were transformed into the beautifully presented Pacific Westgate Shopping Centre Covid-19 Vaccination Centre in Massey, West Auckland. The official opening of the centre held on Wednesday the 12th of May was a significant milestone for us on our journey together with our communities in the fight against Covid-19.
A project led by The Fono in partnership with the Pacific Collective, DHB (which DHB exactly) and Northern Regional Health Coordination Centre. This centre’s focus is on serving the specific needs of West Auckland’s Pacific community. With our highly trained, caring and multi lingual team we know this will benefit our communities in a significant way – helping to keep the communication open and accessible for all. The centre also warmly welcomes everyone from the diverse West Auckland community to come to our centre for their vaccination if they are currently eligible based on the government’s current vaccine rollout plan. Special attention to the centre’s layout, culturally rich displays of pacific artwork, videos to watch in waiting areas and music in the background has created a warm, welcoming and relaxing atmosphere for everyone coming through.
The day began early with a dawn blessing and Pōwhiri by Matua Fraser Toi and was attended by a small group of representatives from the DHB’s and The Pacific Collective.
Later that morning the official launch started with a prayer and an opening address by Reverend Superintendent of the Samoan Methodist Northern Auckland Synod, Le Afioga le Sea – Reverend Taumafai Komiti he shared a key message – “We are reminded to love thy neighbour and get vaccinated. This is the only way we will protect our communities and our families.”
Dr Dale Bramley, Chief Executive of the Waitematā District Health Board, was another honourable guest at the event. “Earlier this week, we opened the first vaccination centre on the North Shore, in Birkenhead. Today we have reached another important milestone – with the opening of our first Pacific-led clinic within the Waitematā District, here at Westgate…This clinic will help serve our diverse West Auckland population, in particular, our Pacific communities. This clinic belongs to our community and is a service to that community…Vaccinating is also about protecting our whānau, our whakapapa and our kaumātua and kuia.”
The Fono’s CEO, Tevita Funaki also addressed the staff and guest present. “We want our people to feel they have a welcoming place to come and receive their vaccinations and we’ve achieved that with this centre. We need to continue to work closely with all of our Pacific families in this area and the wider community to encourage them to take their turn to be vaccinated when their time comes. Only then will we succeed in keeping our people safe from this pandemic.”
Pacific Westgate Covid-19 Vaccination Centre
7 Westgate Drive, Massey, West Auckland.
Opening Hours: 8.30am – 4pm, 7 days a week.
OCA Celebrates New Campus with Vibrant Grand Opening
Oceania Career Academy’s brand new campus was officially opened on Saturday 22 May by the Hon Minister Aupito William Sio. The joyous celebration was attended by a large audience, including government ministers, construction industry representatives, community and church leaders, employers, students and their parents.
The event began with a traditional pōwhiri before the Hon Jenny Salesa gave an address. She outlined her long association with OCA and congratulated the staff and students on their achievements. ‘What I love about OCA is the mentoring and support you provide to all students. It’s what you do best,’ she said.
The Minister for Pacific Peoples, the Hon Aupito William Sio, officially opened the new facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and commented: ‘This state-of-the-art campus sends a very strong signal. It demonstrates the success of OCA’s work as we continue to support Māori and Pacific learners in the wider community.’ He continued: ‘OCA provides outstanding opportunities and bridges the gap between education and employment for our young people. The new campus will expand these opportunities to train and support even more students.’
Attendees were treated to a colourful display of cultural performances, including a graceful Tongan Tau’olunga by Kapitania Funaki and Samoan dancers from Tatau Mānaia. Another highlight was the beautiful singing of the OCA choir, who proved that students’ talents go beyond their skills in building.
OCA is the country’s first Pacific-owned and led private trades training provider. Executive Director Anthony Tu’itahi outlined the academy’s vision to provide New Zealand’s best apprentices equipped with the skills and competencies employers need.
‘We are a category 1 NZQA provider,’ he says, ‘and that is the top quality accreditation stamp.’
‘Our results speak for themselves. Qualification completion rates for Pasifika students at NZQA studying at levels 2 and 3 in construction programs is close to 80%.’
‘We live up to our commitment to provide a quality education relevant to the industry that leads to high skilled and well-paid employment,’ said Anthony.
All-Black legend and Pasifika Futures board member Sir Michael Jones spoke for many in attendance when he said: ‘As we celebrate this amazing campus, we give thanks, acknowledge and salute the vision, blood, sweat and tears behind making this day possible.’ ‘This academy is our future. It will help us fulfil our potential and our place as Pasifika in Aotearoa New Zealand. As a community, we continue to drive for real change, real transformation and empowerment for the leaders of tomorrow.’
OCA Chair Tevita Funaki thanked Pacific community leaders and organisations for their help and support. He also acknowledged the assistance of Foundation North and Pasifika Futures, plus the many other providers and funders who contributed to the new premises. ‘This journey has been a collective one,’ he said. ‘Your support of our work gives assurance to our students and their families as they entrust us with their aspirations. And it also gives us the ability to grow and develop.’
‘Thank you for believing in us and the way we do education,’ he concluded.
Mafutaga a Ta’ita’i | Leadership Team Retreat
Our executive and senior leadership team attended a leadership retreat together at Kourawhero Estate, Warkworth on the 3rd and 4th of June. In line with the then Samoan Language week the retreat was titled Mafutaga a Ta’ita’i | Leadership Retreat.
Day one began with an opening prayer and hymns. Our CEO Tevita Funaki then welcomed the team and presented an overview of the retreat’s intentions. This was to be the first time The Fono had a full complement of managers in the Senior Management team including The Fono’s recently launched Mental Health and stand-alone Whanau Ora service. This made it all the more beneficial for the new management team to spend time together, not only getting familiar with each other, but also with each other’s services and ensuring that everybody is one with the vision and mission of The Fono – particularly our model of care.
Tevita highlighted the importance of The Fono’s preparedness for the future, especially around the major health reforms that are beginning to roll out as well relating to MSD delivery, how would that affect us and how we plan to maximize our position.
The introduction round was memorable and unique as each person shared their name, its meaning and how they received it. Everyone had an incredible story to tell about their name and how it linked back to their heritage, lineage and home land– their roots.
The first invited speaker was Pelenato Sakalia, CEO of Pacific Business Trust (PBT) who spoke on the topic of economic development and leadership. And he talked about the importance of the partnership between The Fono and PBT, and the Whanau Ora wraparound service for business owners. He explained that if he was asked to summarise economic development for Pacific – it would quite simply be all about people. If business owners aren’t healthy and supported then they don’t thrive. He also explained how many families rely on pacific businesses for employment so it’s really essential for us as a group of providers to provide these wrap around services to support them.
The second speaker was Dr Monique Faleafa, a partner at PwC. She spoke in detail about the Health Reform including the timeline of the rollout, funding structures and what the new entity would be looking for in providers especially those who work directly with families in the community. She spoke about the intension of this reform being to enable fast tracking by providing more direct lines to ministry funding and families –essentially minimizing all the bureaucracy.
The third speaker, Anthony Dentice from AdviceWise People Ltd, presented a fascinating and deeply informative presentation titled ‘The Forces Around Us’. He presented the government’s overall direction to continue keeping Aotearoa New Zealand safe from Covid-19 and the plans to accelerate the recovery and rebuild from the impact Covid-19 has had. He covered the institution of reforms in many sectors such as Health, Social Services, Welfare, Justice and Education and highlighted the need to lay the foundations for the future, including addressing key issues such as our climate change response, housing affordability, child-poverty and employment conditions. He also addressed the influences such as Pacific Aotearoa – Lalanga Fou which the Ministry of Pacific Peoples is responsible for and in which The Fono is completely in line with. Anthony spoke of goals such as encouraging pacific languages, cultures and identities to thrive, prosperous pacific communities, resilient and health pacific peoples and confident, thriving, resilient pacific youth. He then addressed the opportunity for The Fono to take the lead and set the standard as a progressive example of innovation, cooperation and success with Lalanga Fou principles in all wellbeing sectors as well as the journey to develop and create Pacific prosperity.
Tevita Funaki then presented an overview of the 2021 Wellbeing Budget and the first day ended with a wonderful dinner together.
Day two also began with a prayer and hymn followed by a presentation by Tevita Funaki speaking on the leadership team about being visionaries. He also overviewed and reinforced The Fono’s vision, values, mission and promise to ensure all present were on the same page.
Zooming in from Wellington, the third speak for day two was the highly influential and respected government leader Serena Curtis-Lemuelu, GM Pacific and Community Capability Programmes of MSD. Serena talked in detail about the welfare reform.
After each speaker the team analysed in depth what was shared and how that information would affect our services and how we provide them in the future.
Special Awards Celebrate Success of Enua Ola Participants
The fantastic achievements of this year’s participants were celebrated on Saturday evening (19th June) at the Enua Ola Outrigger Health Challenge Awards. The special awards dinner was held at The Trusts Arena with the Minister for Pacific Peoples, the Hon Aupito William Sio doing the honours.
Now in its tenth year, Enua Ola is The Fono’s community-led health programme aimed at raising awareness of the importance of nutrition and physical activity. This year’s programme focused on weight loss. Twenty-five church and community groups from West Auckland took part alongside ten from the North Shore.
All up, 985 individuals participated in the 8-week challenge, and their results have been outstanding. Through a combination of healthy eating and exercise, participants lost an impressive 868.3kgs in total body fat loss.
‘I want to congratulate all the Enua Ola churches, community groups and participants for taking up the Pasefika outrigger challenge in partnership with The Fono,’ said Tevita Funaki, The Fono’s CEO.
Waitematā DHB’s Director of Pacific Health, Dr Aumea Josephine Herman, gave the keynote address. She also congratulated participants and all the providers involved on their success.
‘Obesity is the new tobacco, and we need to get on top of it’, said Herman. ‘The churches and families we have here this evening are leading the way, but we have more work to do,’ she said.
Hon Minister Aupito William Sio spoke about his own wellness journey and stressed the importance of working together in a bottom-up approach.
‘So many of our Pacific communities experience so many illnesses – diabetes, heart disease, gout – it’s challenging,’ he said. ‘We have to empower ourselves to stay healthy. Our cultural frameworks and programmes like Enua Ola will help us to better look after ourselves,’ concluded the minister.
All Enua Ola participants were acknowledged with a certificate. However, the top three males and females who achieved the biggest weight loss were celebrated with special awards.
Congratulations go to the following individuals:
Female Award Winners
- Sharon Leaitaua
- Trish Agafili
- Emmaline Pickering
Male Award Winners
- Tafa Fidow
- Maile Tanginoa
- Elvis Ioane
The most-anticipated award of the night was the Supreme Award, which is given to the church or community group that achieved the highest overall collective weight loss. It was a close run with third-placed CommUNITY Fitness and second place Henderson Seventh Day Health Ministry hot on the winner’s heels. However, the Supreme Award went to New Lynn Samoan Adventist Church, who lost an incredible 133.9kgs of body fat in total.
Church member Mahven Tuitama spoke about his pride in winning the Supreme Award. ‘Enua Ola has made a massive difference to our church,’ he said. ‘It has brought us all together, and we are committed to carrying on.’
Also a New Lynn Samoan Adventist Church member, the overall male winner, Tafa Fidow, agreed. ‘It’s been a journey, and I couldn’t have done it with the support of everyone,’ he declared.
The thoroughly enjoyable awards event was a fitting celebration of everyone’s achievements. Congratulations go to all the winners at the 2021 Enua Ola Outrigger Health Challenge Awards.
About Enua Ola
First established in 2009, Enua Ola is a church and community-led programme providing physical activity and nutrition sessions. Overseen by The Fono, the programme aims to raise awareness of health and wellness issues among the Pacific community.
This year 25 church and community groups from West Auckland and ten from the North Shore took part, with over 900 individual participants.
The achievements of all those involved were recognised at a special awards dinner held on Saturday 19 June at The Trusts Arena, 65-67 Central Park Drive, Henderson. Over 300 people attended, including health providers, MPs, community representatives and participants’ friends and family.
Special Acknowledgement of our Board Member Neil Woodhams | Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2021
We are delighted to announce that The Fono’s board member Neil Woodhams was awarded a very honourable title as one of the ‘Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit’ on The Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2021 for his services to people with multiple sclerosis (MS). We would like to extend our heart-felt congratulations to Neil and his lovely wife Erin for this outstanding achievement, a reflection of the immense work he has contributed to improving the lives of those with MS in Aotearoa.
Multiple Sclerosis has played a pivotal part in Neil’s life for the last 25 years since his wife Erin’s diagnosis in the 1990s after which he committed to being her full time caregiver. Neil and Erin have four boys, one of whom is also diagnosed with MS. Seeing the impact that MS has had on the lives of his family has been instrumental in solidifying his commitment to the cause.
As a leading advocate for New Zealanders with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Neil has an extensive career in healthcare management at governance and management levels, including as a senior executive for the Midland Regional Health Authority and Chief Operating Officer of Auckland DHB from 2000 to 2002. In 1994 his wife Erin was diagnosed with MS. Since then he has actively advocated for improved health options for people with MS, volunteering nearly 100 hours each month to MS services. He joined the MS Auckland Committee in 2002 and was President from 2007 to 2020. Neil was Vice President of MS New Zealand from 2005 to 2006 and 2014 to 2020 and elected President in 2020. He organised joint funding with the Health Research Council for the definitive study of MS prevalence in New Zealand. In 2004 Neil wrote a paper that became the blueprint for the establishment of New Zealand Multiple Sclerosis Research Trust, which he helped establish in 2015 and remains a Trustee. Neil was a member of the Pharmac Consumer Advisory Committee and General Manager of the first Māori Primary Health Organisation Te Kupenga O Hoturoa. He also serves as an Advisor to the Claimants of the Treaty of Waitangi Wai 2575 Claim on the underfunding of Maori Primary Health providers. Neil has been a Trustee of The Fono since 2014.
Congratulations once again Neil – we are incredibly proud of your achievement!
Outstanding Pacific Westgate Covid-19 Vaccination Centre Statistics from first 30 days
“We are reminded to love thy neighbour and get vaccinated. This is the only way we will protect our communities and our families.”
These were the words of Reverend Superintendent of the Samoan Methodist Northern Auckland Synod, Le Afioga le Sea – Reverend Taumafai Komiti in his address during our Pacific Westgate Covid-19 Vaccination Centre’s opening on May 12th.
Fa’afetai tele lava to every single person who has come through our centre’s doors to receive your Covid-19 vaccination. And to our incredible team at the centre for their dedication, focus and hard work during the last month as well – thank you all! These numbers are certainly proof of everyone’s massive efforts together within our communities.
For more information please message us on Facebook.
Pacific Westgate Covid-19 Vaccination Centre
7 Westgate Drive, Massey, West Auckland.
Opening Hours: 8.30am – 4pm, 7 days a week.
Career opportunities at The Fono and Oceania Career Academy…
Both The Fono and the Oceania Careeer Academy are growing! There is currently an exciting variety of opportunities to scroll through from a range of The Fono’s Auckland locations and Oceania Career Academy. So please do take the time to visit our careers page and share this with any of your Whanau who are looking for work and are keen to join our Fono family and make a difference in our communities with us!
For jobs at The Fono: www.thefono.org/careers for all the details.
For jobs at Oceania Career Academy: https://www.oca.nz/about-us/careers/