Auckland's Polyfest welcomes crowds back for 48th year

With crowds allowed back to watch performances, around 60,000 people took the opportunity to do this over the four-day event reports Tagata Pasifika. 

And it was a welcome return, says new Samoan stage judge Nafanuatele Lafitaga Mafaufau-Peters, who was thoroughly impressed by the turn out. 

“It’s been amazing,” she says.

“Coming from being a teacher and being on the other side of this whole process I’ve just been so proud of the students in terms of their energy (and) their effort.” 

Changing New Zealanders’ thoughts of the Pacific

That was the objective behind a report commissioned by the Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) into New Zealanders’ Perception of the Pacific reports Tagata Pasifika.

Executive Director David Vaeafe says the report is part of a new approach for the organisation to look at relationships, not only to amplify the voices of the Pacific but also to strengthen New Zealand’s identity as a Pacific nation. 

Vaeafe says the report provides a snapshot of New Zealanders’ views today. 

Employment prospects for Pasifika worsened during pandemic- study

New research from Auckland University of Technology's NZ Work Research Institute (NZWRI), showed the disparities were worse in particular for Pasifika women, those under 30 and people living in Auckland.

For example, pre-Covid-19 - for young (under 30 years of age) unemployed Pasifika women living in Auckland - there was no difference in their likelihood of moving into employment when compared to NZ European women.

But during Covid-19, there was a 5.5 percentage point drop in their likelihood of getting a job compared to NZ European women.

Pasifika legal education project launched

Pacific people are underrepresented in the legal profession. Although they comprise 7 percent of the general population, they make up only 3 percent of Lawyers. At the same time they are overrepresented in the legal system, comprising 12 percent of the prison population.

The project will explore issues around Equity, Belonging, and Authority and was launched over the weekend at Victoria University - Te Herenga Waka - by Aupito William Sio Minister for Pacific Peoples and Courts and Associate Minister for Justice, Foreign Affairs, Health (Pacific) and Education (Pacific).

Pasifika voices needed for research project on literacy and numeracy skills

The New Zealand Work Research Institute began a 5-year-long study in October 2019 and this month have started to focus in on Pacific people.

AUT University lecturer Dr Betty Ofe-Grant is leading the Pasifika component of the project and she said Pacific people in Aotearoa are over-represented when it comes to low literacy and numeracy skills.

According to Literacy NZ, one in four adults have literacy difficulties in their everyday life.

ASB Polyfest returns to Auckland after two year break

The hoisting of flags at dawn by Maori and Pacific community leaders was especially poignant as it marks the return of the iconic Maori and Pacific schools festival after two years.

The 45-year-old festival was cancelled over the last two years due to the Christchurch shooting in 2019 and last year’s COVID 19 lockdown.

ASB Polyfest Trustee Mama Tupou Manapouri says it is just so important for our students to return to the stage and celebrate who they are.

“After the lengthy COVID 19 lockdowns we all needed to get back to some kind of normalcy and mental wellbeing.”

Tackling Pasifika health challenges head-on

The 26-year-old was running boot-camp style challenges alongside her brother Patrick Hufanga, founder of Beastmode Fitness. 

Over 110 people signed up for the recent six week challenge, all of them Pacific Islanders. 

"It's basically about bettering yourself in's a challenge for people who come from different forms, shapes and sizes, just for us to push them to have a better life, a healthy life," she said.

Just over 63 percent of Pacific adults and around 29 percent of Pacific children in New Zealand were classified obese. 

New initiative to address shortage of Māori and Pasifika midwives

Less than 10 percent of midwives identify as Māori and less than 3 percent as Pasifika. However, figures from the New Zealand College of Midwives showed 25 percent of Aotearoa's birthing population in 2018 identified as Māori, and 10 percent as Pasifika.

The Te Ara ō Hine for Māori and Tapu Ora for Pasifika is to be developed by Māori and Pacific midwifery educators, students, graduates and stakeholders from Auckland University of Technology, Victoria University of Wellington, Otago Polytechnic, Ara Institute of Canterbury and Waikato Institute of Technology.

Pasifika urged to take up swimming lessons after drowning stats

Surf Life Saving New Zealand's Beach & Coastal Safety Report show Pasifika, Māori and Asians are over-represented in fatal drowning figures.

The report stated that on average, 36 people drown every year on New Zealand's coastlines.

Most drownings occurred on non-lifeguarded beaches or outside of patrol hours, and 87 percent of victims were male.

SLSNZ Chief Executive, Paul Dalton, said per capita, although not overall, Māori and Pacific people were over-represented in the figures.

Dramatic weight loss journey began after having enough of 'family's negative talk'

Being overweight in a Pacific family often means you're guaranteed to be caught in the crossfire of digs, jokes and comments from family members about your weight.

It's a feeling Samuel Sooupu Nanai​ knew all too well, and started him on a dramatic journey to lose weight.

"Growing up I've always been big, every year when we would meet up for Christmas my cousins would call me and my other cousin, fat.​

"I had enough of negative talk especially from family members," says Nanai.

He believes Pasifika need to be careful with how they use their words.