Kapasa is a tool for policy makers to incorporate the needs, values, aspirations, and experiences of Pacific peoples in the generic policy development process. Policies, programmes and services will be more effective if the worldviews and values of the groups they affect are considered in the policy process.
‘Kapasa’ is the Tongan (pronounced Kāpasa) and Samoan (pronounced ‘Tapasā” or colloquially “Kapasā”) translation for compass. Compass is called Kabasi in Fiji and Kamapasi in Niue. Kapasa echoes how our Pacific ancestors successfully navigated their way across the Pacific Ocean. Kapasa is used as a metaphor to represent policy navigation in a diverse society like New Zealand.
While Kapasa is aimed primarily at policy makers in government agencies, it can be useful for the private and non-government sectors also.
Kapasa can be applied to a range of policy work and decision-making where Pacific peoples will be affected directly or indirectly, such as:
Kapasa is designed to be applied at each phase of the policy development process if Pacific people are affected. It breaks this process into three broad phases: ‘context and outcome’, ‘analysis and implementation’ and ‘monitoring, adjustment and evaluation’.
Kapasa applies three overlays to the generic policy development process:
These overlays do not alter the generic policy process. Instead, they add value by allowing for better integration of Pacific peoples’ perspectives throughout the policy development process.
Kapasa recognises that Pacific peoples have a right to equitable outcomes in all aspects of New Zealand life. It encourages users to think critically about the perspectives of Pacific peoples. Specifically, it sets out ways to:
The Kapasa encourages a strengths-based approach to policy development, where Pacific peoples are concerned. This approach is based on the beliefs that all people and communities:
While there is an increasing focus on improving Pacific outcomes, Pacific peoples continue to experience inequities when compared with other population groups. This signals that policies are not meeting the needs and aspirations of Pacific peoples as effectively as they could.
Understanding Pacific stories and what works for Pacific peoples adds rigour to policy analysis and advice. Effectively engaging Pacific communities in the policy process can enable better understanding of the problem, help identify strengths-based solutions and boost community ownership and action.
Kapasa provides a platform for government agencies to build their understanding of Pacific peoples. This can lead to more effective policy development, improved outcomes, and better quality of life.