Guests at the opening of Te Puni Kōkiri Regional Office – Te Upoko o Te Ika and the Ministry for Pacific Peoples in Hamilton.
The understanding Pacific peoples share with mana whenua – the people of the land - has again been highlighted with the opening of Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK) Regional Office – Te Upoko o Te Ika and the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) in Hamilton.
It is the fourth time both Ministries have joined forces to share workspaces, with offices now in Hamilton, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio officially opened the new Hamilton facility on July 22, along with Secretary for Pacific Peoples Laulu Mac Leauanae, Iwi Tainui representatives, stakeholders from Waikato, Maniapoto, Rauwaka and Hauraki rohe, representatives from Pacific community groups, MPP and TPK.
Minister Sio says there is something to be said about the relationship that MPP shares with Te Puni Kokiri.
“My Ministry has developed a strong working relationship with Te Puni Kokiri and will continue to work together for the betterment of our communities,” Minister Sio says.
“This co-location is strategically important as it underpins the importance of having support for Pacific and Māori communities – right on their doorstep.”
A growing number of Pacific people in Aotearoa now call Hamilton home - at the last Census (2018), just under 161,000 people lived in Hamilton, of which 6.1 per cent (approximately 9,800) identified as Pacific.
Samoan and Tongan are the two most spoken Pacific languages in the city.
“When you add the 23.7 per cent of Māori which make up the population of this city, it’s fair to say Māori and Pasifika now make up nearly a third of the city’s population,” Minister Sio says.
The opening of a new office in Hamilton further embeds an opportunity to develop, shape and support the future narrative for the Pacific population in New Zealand, he adds.
Statistics reveal Pacific peoples are slowly moving outside of metropolitan areas into regional New Zealand for employment opportunities.
Having an office based in Hamilton provides support for Tupu Aotearoa providers in Hamilton and the Bay of Plenty, who will continue to support more Pacific people into training and employment.
Hamilton will also be a key location for MPP’s Research and Evaluation, Housing and Languages teams to engage with the local Pacific community.