Media 24 Aug 2020
More than 13,000 Pacific families in New Zealand have received support from various Pacific agencies since the country's first outbreak of COVID-19 in March this year.
However, there are a number of families who are hesitant to receive support. John Kiria from the Mt Wellington Integrated Health Centre in Auckland says there is no shame in seeking assistance.
"This is a unique situation that we have been put in and this is the first time we've needed to offer this type of support." John says.
"Help is out there, and families should not be shy coming to us. There's no shame in asking for help."
"We don't know how long this pandemic will last so our Pasifika community needs to know, we are here to lean on if they need our support."
Mt Wellington Integrated Healthcare and other Pasifika Futures partners across New Zealand have assisted more than 73,000 Pacific peoples, providing care packages and other support services. Most families have sought assistance due to loss of family income and being unable to provide for their family members.
John Kiria has also said there is also support available for Pacific people who have been displaced in New Zealand due to their closure of their country's borders.
"We have helped families who are non-residents. If you are breathing and if you're on this land, we have a responsibility to take care of you," he says.
The second outbreak, which has mostly affected Auckland's Pacific community, has prompted the Mt Wellington Integrated Healthcare to provide families with grocery vouchers rather than packages.
"By providing food vouchers, we feel that many families will be empowered to choose what's available for them."
Kiria also says the healthcare centre can refer families if they need mental, physical and spiritual support.
"With the connections and the networks that we have, we are able to point people in the right direction to get help.
"This time around, families are more resilient and are more prepared. Being on this waka and having the means to help has made a big difference to our Pacific communities."
To access a Whanau Ora Family Support Package, please click here.
Image: John Kiria Source: Pasifika Medical Association Group