Waikato and Pasifika communities have the chance to have their say

K'aute Pasifika Trust, alongside community partner Wintec, are inviting the Waikato public to participate in two different Pasifika-themed events this week.

July 22, 2020

K'aute Pasifika Trust, alongside community partner Wintec, are inviting the Waikato public to participate in two different Pasifika-themed events this week.

K’aute Pasifika Trust are hosting a Pan Pacific Community Hub fono on Wednesday 22 July at The Atrium, at the Wintec City campus, through the generosity of its strategic partners Wintec and Hamilton City Council. The purpose of the fono is to encourage people to have their say as to how the Pan Pacific Community Hub can be set up to better support the holistic wellbeing of families in the Waikato.

The following evening, Thursday 23 July, Wintec will host Nesian Talks at Te Kōpū Mānia o Kirikiriora Marae, also on the Wintec City campus. Nesian Talks, part of the Wintec Matariki festival ‘Horahia Matariki’ is a talanoa (conversation) with some “movers and shakers” in the Waikato Pasifika community, including Silaumea Petersen, a representative from K’aute Pasifika, who will discuss Matariki from their various different Pacific perspectives.

K’aute Pasifika Chief Executive Leaupepe Rachel Karalus says: “The fono is to ensure the needs of the community are understood and met. It is critical that we hear the public’s feedback. Everyone is encouraged to have their say regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or age. The Pan Pacific Community Hub has come from the people, is for the people and so it must be absolutely focused on the people. The Hub is about inclusion.”

K’aute Pasifika Trust’s Pan Pacific Community Hub in central Hamilton will be a first for New Zealand. Purpose-built, it will include an integrated health centre, and early childhood learning facility and an open fale-style community space for programmes as well as community and cultural events.

“A centralised and accessible Pan Pacific Community Hub will enable us to better support the holistic wellbeing of families using Pacific models of care, increase our connectedness and sense of identity, and celebrate and support academic, sporting, creative and leadership potential and achievements,” says Karalus.

The integrated GP service and the early learning centre are being developed in partnership with Primary Health Care Limited and Creators Educational Trust.

“One of the big things from a wellbeing perspective is the need for Pacific people in the Waikato to have a space in which we can celebrate and maintain our languages, our practices and our traditions, and the ability to do that from a culturally appropriate and significant space will go some way to achieving that objective.”

Investment for the Pan Pacific Community hub was bolstered recently with over $1m investment by the Ministry of Education. The Associate Minister of Education, the Hon Jenny Salesa, announced the investment for the establishment of a Pan Pacific Early Learning Centre at the Hamilton Bowling Club site on Hinemoa Park.

“K’aute Pasifika and the community have had this dream of establishing a community hub for over 20 years. What began in 2013 a small investment in a Pacific playcentre, planted the seed for the hub. An integrated hub offering health, social, employment, housing, education spanning the life cycle of people is of benefit for everyone in the community.”

Following that same vein of celebrating cultural practice and tradition, Nesian Talks is a chance for the community to hear from some key influencers in the Waikato Pasifika community to discuss the importance of Matariki in their lives and cultures.

Organiser of Nesian Talks, Wintec kaiawhina and researcher Horomona Horo, says “Nesian Talks was formed by our Horahia Matariki whanau to bring connection and to build relationships through culture. This will hopefully bring attention for all students and staff of all ethnicities, to hear and see our community organisations in dialogue with current cultural conversations.”

Matariki is traditionally an important time of the year for Māori and many other cultures around the world, including the Pacific. The art of reading the stars might be lost to many now, but the significance of the time of year has changed and adapted over the years, and newer generations of Māori and Pasifika people are reviving cultural practices and taking a renewed interest.

“The panellists - Robbie Atatoa from Hamilton Cook Island Association, Silaumea Petersen from K’aute Pasifika, Landy Nonoa from Talents of the Pacific Academy and Hamiora de Thierry from Te Runanga o Kirikiroa - will discuss what Matariki means to them, and what possibilities the celebration of Matariki can bring for cultural enrichment in our Māori and Pasifika communities.”

The event aims to be an insightful and invigorating discussion for all involved.

Nesian Talks is open to the public, and it is recommended that guests register on the Wintec website. For those that can’t attend in person, a Zoom link will be sent out before the talanoa so people can watch the discussion online.

The fono and panel discussion are open to all members of the public and are important events to lift the profile of the region’s diverse Pasifika community and its connection to all Waikato communities.

Details of the events are:

Pan Pacific Community Hub Fono

Wednesday 22 July, 5.30pm-7.30pm, the Atrium, Wintec House, corner of Anglesea and Ward Streets, Hamilton.

Nesian Talks

Thursday 23 July 2020, doors open 6.00pm, Te Kōpū Mānia o Kirikiriroa Marae, Wintec City Campus.
Register here and find out more about this event on the Wintec Māori Pasifika Facebook page.