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Online Pacific Cultural Competency Programme Launched for Family Violence Practitioners

Media Release 
An online programme for family violence practitioners who work with Pacific families has been launched today in Manukau, Auckland, to help frontline workers understand and apply Pacific cultural concepts in their work.

The Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu online programme introduces participants to eight Pacific cultural frameworks, and how they can prevent and stop family violence among Pacific families and communities.

The online programme was developed by South Auckland social change organisation The Cause Collective and draws on values and traditions from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu.Practitioners, frontline workers and Pacific communities learn a range of approaches for working with Pacific communities in Aotearoa New Zealand. They also learn about the historical and cultural contexts of Pacific peoples and their impacts on family harm.

Cultural Lead, Fa’amatuainu Tino Pereira, says the online curriculum is designed so that learners can select and apply strategies for communicating and working with a diverse range of Pacific peoples.

“Culture must be at the heart of any solution to Pacific family violence,” says Fa’amatuainu. “Reciprocity, respect, our genealogies, our sense of belonging, those are very relevant. Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu uses a well being approach.”

After completing the programme’s four learning modules, graduates can attend a range of face-to-face workshops delivered by Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu’s facilitators that delve deeper into the eight cultural frameworks.

Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu’s workshops have been delivered face-to-face by a team of Pacific facilitators since 2016, with some workshops lasting from three to five days. Programme Lead, Akesa Filimoehala-Burling, says the advent of Covid-19 saw a need for Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu to pivot and use blended learning, a mix of online and face-to-face teaching.

“We were also responding to participant feedback that it was a challenge for practitioners to attend a three-day programme given their caseloads and other competing priorities,” says Filimoehala-Burling. “This is a one-off Introductory training programme that practitioners must complete before choosing to participate in one or more of the ethnic specific one-day face to face workshops.”

The online programme is open to both Pacific and non-Pacific people who are working directly with Pacific families. This opportunity will allow non-Pacific practitioners to have a deeper understanding of an ethnic-specific approach to inform their practice when working with Pacific peoples. The Cause Collective is the sister organisation of AH+. In 2016 AH+ established The Cause Collective to work on the social and economic determinants of health and wellbeing for Pasifika, Māori and vulnerable communities in South Auckland.

About Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu
Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu is a collaboration between eight Pacific ethnic communities, The Cause Collective and Government through the Ministry of Social Development. Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu’s conceptual frameworks are the centrepiece of the Government’s Pasefika Proud initiative which aims to prevent family violence among Pacific communities.

Nga Vaka started in 2010 as a community response using culture as the platform for Pacific communities. The goal was to help them take responsibility and lead their own action to prevent and stop violence in Pacific families. The eight ethnic Pacific communities are Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu.

Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu means ‘The Sailing Vessels of Sacred Families’. The title is made up of words that have the same or similar meanings in two or more languages of the eight Pacific communities represented in the collaboration.

Vaka are the ethical compasses that direct and orientate individuals towards honouring human relationships in families, and in communities of identity and belonging.

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