Minister engages with Christchurch Pacific leaders
Minister for Pacific Peoples, Hon Alfred Ngaro met with the Pacific community and church leaders in Christchurch this week.
The Minister appreciated firsthand just how close-knit the Canterbury community is and how the Pacific workforce and networks across all sectors have great synergy.
Although the South Island community is isolated from Auckland and Wellington opportunities, collaboration is the key and Pacific youth initiatives driven by youths themselves are very important.
The Christchurch leaders spoke of the challenges faced by the community, including South Island Pacific issues not taken seriously when they are raised, and that South Island Pacific leaders are less visible in government planning.
Whilst combining Maori and Pacific roles can work, leaders believe that this approach is not conducive to progress for either party, and they urged the Minister to keep them separate. The funding pools are always significantly less for the South Island, and leaders urged the Minister to consider the Housing, Mental Health, and social inequalities and disparities as priorities.
Around 30 people were invited to the event.
Mr Ngaro acknowledged the host organisation, Ara Institute of Canterbury.
The Ministry has a long-standing relationship with Ara and continues to support the Ara Pasifika Advisory Group.
Mr Ngaro reminded everyone of the upcoming Cook Islands Language Week and encouraged the communities to get involved by empowering and inspiring young people to hold onto their language.
The Christchurch communities also had the chance to meet the new Chief Executive of the Ministry, Laulu Mac Leauanae who accompanied the Minister on his visit.