Pacific community in Canterbury collaborate for a brighter future

11 September 2017

With nearly 13,000 people in Canterbury identifying with a Pacific ethnicity in 2013 and a growing population, Pasifika Futures and the Canterbury District Health Board teamed up to host a collaborative co -design workshop with the Pacific community in Christchurch to look at different ways to approach health and social services.

The purpose of this event was to provide those in and working with the Pacific community in Canterbury an opportunity to meet, engage and exchange ideas around the community’s wellbeing as well as its wants and needs for the future.

3_3Those in attendance were welcomed by the Chair of Pasifika Futures, Dr. Kiki Maoate and General Manager of Planning, Funding and Decision Support, Carolyn Gullery from the Canterbury District Health Board.

“It is essential that we come together and work as one towards the outcomes and goals that we have the ability to design together.” Says Dr. Kiki Maoate. “A workshop like this can have major impact on our work going forward and we are excited to see where this opportunity leads.”

With a focus on relationships and how integral they are in reaching successful outcomes, CEO of Pasifika Futures Debbie Sorensen spoke alongside Sandy McLean from Canterbury DHB around the values of both organisations.

“We want to represent the Pacific community in Canterbury and their goals in the best possible way. Values are something incredibly important to Pacific Futures and the Canterbury District Health Board and we believe that our similar organisational values unite us and place us in a productive space. Working together will produce the best outcomes for our communities.” Comments Mrs. Sorensen.

A combined vision of ‘Prosperous and healthy Pacific families in Canterbury’ was proposed with the purpose of ‘supporting Pacific families to shape a better future and achieve health and wellness.’ This included an emphasis on shared responsibility, families, integrity, relationships and a strength based focus.

2_6Discussion took place around topics including how to create a community driven approach with a strong community voice, how to get families to own this approach and how it might be measured.

Conversations included families and how they are a core part of our communities, who we are and what we do. It was acknowledged that the Pacific community have the capabilities and capacity to influence, provide, respond and participate towards their own health and wellness through a shared, collective responsibility in a way that is unique and works for Pacific people.

With a real emphasis on relationship building, feedback included ideas around identifying leaders, bridging the intergenerational gap to bring youth back into the community, recognizing that each voice is important and should be heard as well as using talanoa as an approach that promotes equality.

1_6The consensus was that in order for families to take control and own this approach they need to be given the opportunity to make their own decisions and a safe environment to do so in. The need for appropriate guidance to stay informed and understand information was expressed as well as the importance of re-establishing trust in each other and the system.

Wilmason Jensen, Deputy CEO of Pasifika Futures summarised responses by saying “We will know that our approach is succeeding when we are working together, needs are being met and people feel like they are being heard, understood and included.”

Through coming together to directly discuss and identify ideas and responses with the Pacific community in Canterbury, Pasifika Futures and the Canterbury DHB are able to achieve a better understanding of how the delivery of services could be looked at and improved for the future. Both Pasifika Futures and the Canterbury District Health Board are dedicated to working together to co-design an innovative approach to further work, aspiring for even better outcomes and will be coming together again later this month.