Success in the regions starts at home
(Picture caption: Held in a region with a growing Pacific population, the Lalanga Fou - Tulī Takes Flight fono in Palmerston North was a success.)
Horowhenua is a far-cry from the island nation of Kiribati.
However, in recent times, the Horowhenua District, which is part of the Manawatū-Whanganui region in the North Island of New Zealand, is attracting a growing number of families from Kiribati who now call the area home.
After arriving in New Zealand from Kiribati in 2003, Aberaam Teororo relocated to Levin six years ago, where he is the Chairperson of Kiribati Uniting Church and an integral part of the Pacific community in the region.
Aberaam (pictured below) recently shared his experience of living in regional New Zealand, at the Lalanga Fou - Tulī Takes Flight fono in Palmerston North.
He says in towns across the region, the number of Kiribati residents is increasing.
“Levin for example, has around 20 households, comprised of Kiribati Uniting Church members, Roman Catholic Church members and Mormon Church members,” Aberaam says.
Palmerston North has become a hub for Kiribati people through the well-connected James Etuale, who is heavily involved in the Pacific community region-wide.
“James really got us involved and introduced us to the rest of the Pacific community in Palmerston North,” Aberaam says.
The fono was the ideal experience, to engage and discuss Pacific issues, concerns and aspirations with the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP), he continues.
“This type of engagement with the Ministry is very important for the community, as MPP is the only major body who can truly oversee, support and provide for the Pacific community’s needs.”
With the right type of support and hard work, members of the Pacific community can reach their true potential, and meet the aims and goals of Lalanga Fou, discussed at the fono, Aberaam says.
He adds there are simple measures which can be taken to improve lifestyles for Pacific peoples living in regional New Zealand.
“It starts with family – we need families to raise their young ones to maintain their languages, culture and health – at home, school and at church.”
The next Lalanga Fou fono is in Tauranga, on August 19. If you have not yet registered, it is not too late. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register. Visit HERE for more information.