Surviving on her own

The following is an excerpt from an article published online by one of Pasifika Futures Core Whanau Ora Partner The Fono

Photo source: The Fono

Photo source: The Fono

Tragedy struck Kuenitelina (Kueni) Tanginoa’s family when her husband- the father of her five children- was taken from them in 2013. As a young Tongan stay-at-home mother, now a widow, Kueni felt lost. With the help of The Fono’s Whanau Ora service Kueni has been able to pick herself up for the sake of her children and is half-way towards finishing her degree to become a Social Worker.

“I was struggling to make ends meet,” says Kueni.

Between studying and looking after her two youngest, as her older sons moved out of home, two to Australia for better job prospects and the youngest boy to Auckland to study visual arts, Kueni was finding it hard to cope.

She finally asked The Fono to help, and was provided with assistance on her journey to become more independent.

Her Whanau Ora Navigator Falesiu (Fale) Fotu soon became her confidante, not only being an ear for her to talk to about her issues but also through providing sound advice and helping her on a pathway to a brighter future.

“She gave me advice on how I can improve my personal life, for instance to stop smoking.”

Smoking was a huge drain on the little money she had, as well as a detriment to her wellbeing and the wellbeing of her family.

Kueni was referred to smoking cessation services which helped her to stop.

Falesiu also helped her set up automatic payments so that bills wouldn’t pile up, with Whanau Ora helping to pay the immediate arrears which Kueni was struggling with.

Whanau Ora also helped to replace all four tyres of the family car, their only mode of transportation to and from school, the doctors, university and to her part-time job at Countdown from their remote home in Kaikohe.

Kueni started her own vegetable garden, to help lessen the cost of groceries, and has learnt to prioritise her needs on her own.

It’s something she and Fale have worked on, when setting family goals.

The full story is available online here courtesy of The Fono