Weathering the storm

posted: 6:00 pm - 21st June 2020
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(Picture caption: Tauinaola Lilo and his family are grateful for the help service provider Solomon Group offered them after Tauinaola was made redundant before the Covid-19 lockdown.)

Sometimes when it rains, it pours.   

A week before New Zealand’s Covid-19 lockdown began in late March, 57-year old Tauinaola Lilo was made redundant.   

Reality quickly dawned upon him thinking about how he was financially going to make ends meet for his family.   

Tauinaola had been the main income earner, having worked for his previous employer for several years. 

His elderly mother had been diagnosed with cancer, requiring special care and treatment, so she lived at Tauinaola’s home in Manurewa, together with his wife and three children. 

With bills and mortgage payments piling up, Tauinaola was unable to access Covid-19 wage subsidies as he had already been made redundant ahead of lockdown. 

In the past, Tauinaola was in and out of odd jobs trying to take on board anything and everything that bought in a financial means, but the income was not stable enough to comfortably rely on.   

Accessing mainstream services for support through online channels was quite overwhelming and distressing given his limited digital literacy.   

So, in her last year of high school, his daughter decided to also look for employment to help her family out. 

A family member from Palmerston North recommended the pair try the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ Tupu Aotearoa programme, and an email to Rhia Taonui (Tupu Aotearoa Manager – Manuwatu/Whanganui and Hawkes Bay) connected the family into Auckland’s Tupu Aotearoa Manager Jae Stowers. 

“I made contact with Solomon Group who is one of the providers for Tupu Aotearoa Auckland Metro, to see if we could help,” Jae says. 

“Solomon Group contacted Tauinaola and his daughter, and we helped them do their CVs. 

“Tauinaola was very nervous, looked really stressed, discouraged, and he was very open about his family’s financial hardship – he said his whole family had experienced stress and anxiety due to financial hardship.” 

Solomon Group provided coaching, whare tapa wha/wellbeing support to build his confidence. 

The Private Training Establishment also contacted its employer network, who provided essential skills and training and soon, Tauinaola had been successfully employed in a full-time role at Fisher and Paykel. 

“Meanwhile, Tauinaola’s daughter wanted to go back to school - we supported this, and she is currently studying at McAuley High School,” she adds.

Solomon Group has helped Tauinaola feel supported and the organisation was extremely empathetic towards supporting his endeavours. 

Today his family is in a prosperous position to recover from Covid-19’s impact, and most importantly he is able to take care of his family and provide the health needs his mother requires.

Visit MPP if you are interested in learning more about Tupu Aotearoa, which helps Pacific young people find employment, complete further training or study.