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Photo above:  Front (left to right) Fila Fuamatu, Lisa Uini, Noel Edmonds, Johnnie Timu, Asenati Tavita, Duane Mann.  Back (left to right) Mark Simiona, Chillion Sanerivi, Aioi Iona, John Mann, Maddi Schmitt, Sosefina Paletaoga and Pulotu Bruce Levi (Absent: Romero Tagi)

Activating health and fitness in Pacific communities is a challenge for many organisations – but not for six community groups who’re tackling the problem as a collective.

The MAP Collective is made up of Ōtara Health Charitable Trust, Pop Up Play, Outback Lifestyle, D65 Fitness, Good Seed Trust and The Cause Collective and are combining their strengths to form a collective approach to community activation which is guided by Pacific and Māori values and frameworks to engage and build authentic relationships with local communities.

Although their collective group ‘MAP’ (Move Auckland Pasifika) was officially formed in September, it took two months for members to meet face to face due to Covid-19.

Maddi Schmitt from Ōtara Health (image below) says it was great to finally get together and begin their first firestarter conversation.

“We’re keen to support the amazing work we already know occurs through our churches, youth groups, and other organisations, which people typically do on a voluntary basis,” said Maddie.  “We’ve already moved forward and are making progress including submitting a funding application.”

“We invite everyone and anyone in the health sector who has a heart and passion for serving our Pasifika communities to join the MAP Collective.

Brown Pride Community Exercise Group (Photo Credit:  Brown Pride Instagram)

A new addition to the MAP Collective is Brown Pride NZ, a social enterprise founded by six friends in October 2019. Its aim is to empower Pasifika and Māori through fitness, arts and community. 

“The MAP Collective will help to amplify the voices of Pasifika peoples in South Auckland,” says Brown Pride co-founder Johnnie Timu.  “As someone who is new to the health sector, it’s great to be able to bounce ideas off other more experienced practitioners.”

“For example, a good lesson that’s stuck with me is the importance of telling stories about the work we do. I know as Pasifika or Māori we can shy away from that, but we’ve got to remember that we can amplify peoples’ voices or help speak for those we represent.”

The MAP Collective was officially established in a signing ceremony in September and has already moved quickly to progress some of their main functions including submitting a collective funding application, advocacy work and designing a Collective questionnaire for talanoa sessions.  

It’s also designed the MAP Collective survey to understand the health and wellbeing needs of South Auckland participants. The aim is to ensure Pacific peoples and South Auckland communities have better access to programmes that lead to healthier lifestyles.

“It’s important to get Pacific and Māori communities moving, and to ensure we’re at the table to make key decisions that impact our people,” says Fila Fuamatu, Lead Systems Innovator at The Cause Collective.  “The current system is inequitable and inaccessible for Pacific people, groups and organisations to participate, so we want to bridge the gap.”

For more information about The MAP Collective, contact Fila Fuamatu. Email: [email protected].