Pasifika community ready to play greater support role

Dunedin's Pasifika community is ready to play a larger role in the city’s wellbeing and is asking for more support from the Dunedin City Council to do so.

Pasifica Dunedin branch president Elsie Taimalieutu-Freeman asked for more financial support from the council at the 2019-20 annual plan hearings yesterday.

The group would like to see an increase of $500,000 in the budget for the council’s social wellbeing strategy, some of which needed to go directly to Pasifika organisations in the city.

Under the current system money for community development went to mainstream community groups and non-governmental organisations which many in the different Pacific Island communities fell outside of, she said.

There were already groups within the community working with families and people in need but they needed more funding if they were to succeed.

‘‘We know our community, we know our people and we know how to make that positive change. We just need that support.’’

Although communication and engagement by the council had increased, more was needed if Pasifika people were to feel valued, Mrs Taimalieutu-Freeman said.

‘‘It has to be more than tokenism and it has to be more for our community. We may not always be at the forefront of these things but we are always behind helping people or doing our own work.’’

As a start, a Pasifika person had to be hired to report to the council as to what the needs of the community were, she said.

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