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Changing with the times

Changing with the times

  • 25 Oct 2022

(Picture caption: Ekalesia Faapotopotoga Kerisiano Samoa Hastings ran vaccination drives and education workshops with Pacific Aotearoa Community Outreach funding.) 

When the pandemic struck, many peoples’ mindsets were challenged as new information was learned every day. 

It has certainly been an issue church minister Sunita Nua and his congregation at Ekalesia Faapotopotoga Kerisiano Samoa (EFKS) Hastings have faced during this time.  

Yet, with support from Pacific Aotearoa Community Outreach Fund, Sunita had the tools and resources to educate his congregation about COVID-19, and the benefits of getting vaccinated, and health in general. 

Aimed to aid more frequent and responsive engagements between government and Pacific communities to keep Pacific peoples informed and supported during the country's response to COVID-19, funding from the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) initiative enabled the church to help protect its people from the impacts of the pandemic. 

With this funding, Sunita was able to organise workshops in the past year to discuss the many vaccination theories, and to urge the EFKS congregation to follow the guidance being provided by the Ministry of Health- Manatū Hauora throughout lockdowns and COVID-19 surges in the community. 

“We held a lot of workshops featuring people who worked in different fields where we gained knowledge about the virus as well as other areas of health,” Sunita explains. 

“We also organised a vaccination day, along with a six-week fitness challenge, to encourage our people to stay healthy.”   

Catering for the Samoan community in Hastings, EFKS has a congregation of varying ages, and serves not only the spiritual needs but also the mental and wellbeing needs of its people, which became especially relevant during the peak of the pandemic, Sunita says. 

Knowledge is key and education around health will continue at the church, as well as making people aware of the opportunities available for them, from the likes of MPP, Sunita says. 

Hastings EFKS is most grateful for the support it received from the Pacific Aotearoa Community Outreach Fund and Sunita says he really encourages other Pacific organisations to apply for MPP funding to help Pacific people to thrive in Aotearoa. 

Round three of the Pacific Aotearoa Community Outreach Fund is opening soon - stay updated about this fund and other current funding opportunities on the MPP website