Keynote speaker for the graduation and Mental Health Clinical Lead for Etu Pasifika, Dr Staverton Kautoke, emphasised the significance of Pacific representation in the mental health field. He relayed the vision of the Ngalu Fānifo programme as an opportunity to provide mental health support for Pacific communities that is culturally appropriate, reminding the graduates the importance of their service to those most in need.
"You play a very vital role in our communities and health systems. So continue to practise your values, listen actively and have a heart to genuinely help others.
"Pacific and Māori are overrepresented in many of our health statistics here in New Zealand. You have a key responsibility to care and serve our communities. A little bit of empathy goes such a long way in our profession so remember who you are, where you come from and your role and responsibilities."
PFL Board Director, La'auli Sir Michael Jones, congratulated recipients for their efforts and says the future of the mental health workforce is promising.
"The challenge now is what to do with this gift. The mental health and well-being space is a critical area for our communities and is one of the single biggest fundamental challenges for Aotearoa and the region.
"This is an important area of expertise that will make a difference for our people. Your accomplishment is a fantastic opportunity to give back to our communities."
Health Coach Certificate Graduate, Suzanne Joseph, says the learnings from the programme has developed her skillset in her role as Whānau Ora Lead for Etu Pasifika Auckland.
"I found great value in the programme not just for my work but my personal life as well. I set my own health goals and am pleased to have achieved them and I look forward to pushing myself further.
"As a Whānau Ora Lead, I work closely with families so this is a great tool for me to utilise when serving our Pacific communities."
Advanced Mental Health Certificate Graduate, Una Turangavuli, says it is encouraging to see the Pacific mental health workforce growing through opportunities such as the Ngalu Fānifo PreKure programme.
"I really enjoyed the programme and am already applying some of what I've learned into my own life as I'm a mother and also a Sunday school teacher.
"It's really encouraging and motivating to see more people enter the field of mental health and wanting to make a difference."