High hopes: new health hub for Pacific peoples

The opening of Pacific Trust Otago’s new premises last weekend was an opportunity for the Pacific...
The opening of Pacific Trust Otago’s new premises last weekend was an opportunity for the Pacific community in Otago to gather. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
It is a new beginning for Pacific Trust Otago.

On Saturday more than 180 people attended the official opening of new premises for the independent community provider on the corner of McBride and Braemar Sts in South Dunedin.

Mana whenua Kaumatua Edward Ellison provided the mihi whakatau for the event and Minister of Pacific Peoples and Associate Minister for Health Aupito William Sio gave a formal address before Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony.

Pacific Trust Otago strategic leader Dr Losa Moata’ane said the aim of the new location was to develop a health hub focused on the local Pacific community.

"We want to make sure that we have the capacity to be able to deliver a wrap-around service that reflects the needs of our community."

The hub had space for general practitioner services, nursing services and vaccinations.

The hub was also home to a Covid-19 response service, social services including Whanau Ora family wellbeing and Well Child Tamariki Ora services for children five and under.

The trust was run by members of the Pacific Island community.

"We have the language, we understand our people."

That enabled the opportunity to deliver culturally appropriate services.

Pacific Trust Otago general manager Lloyd Maole (left) and strategic leader Dr Losa Moata’ane are...
Pacific Trust Otago general manager Lloyd Maole (left) and strategic leader Dr Losa Moata’ane are delighted at being able to extend a range of services for the Pacific community from their new location. PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
"We are not just a service, we belong and we live with our community."

Dr Moata’ane said the trust was grateful to all the external partners who had supported the trust through its 23 years’ journey.

"But I think this is a point in time that we really need to action it.

"So we are calling for resources to make this happen if we are truly wanting to reflect equity," Dr Moata’ane said.

Pacific Trust Otago chairwoman Faumuina Professor Fa’afetai Sopoaga said with the changes in the new health system, she was delighted the health of Maori people would have a specific focus with the establishment of the Maori Health Authority.

The focus of the government on equity issues in the health sector, shined a light on the poor health of Pacific communities in Aotearoa, she said.

Pacific peoples had suffered disproportionately from poor health over many years, she said.

The trust had joined with Invercargill’s Pacific Islands Advisory Charitable Trust and Oamaru Pacific Islands Community Group to form a Southern Pacific Collective.

The collective had met with the district health board recently to express its concerns about the ongoing lack of engagement with Pacific communities in service delivery, she said.

"Pacific Trust Otago looks forward to a constructive relationship with all partners as we move into a new era in the provision of health services to address the needs of those who need it most in our community."

simon.henderson@thestar.co.nz

New chapter ...  The opening of Pacific Trust Otago's new premises last weekend was an...
New chapter ... The opening of Pacific Trust Otago's new premises last weekend was an opportunity for the Pacific community in Otago to gather. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

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