Photo: PMN News/Mina Amso
In New Zealand, a Pasifika village will soon provide services to thousands of people in the province of Waikato.
The multi-million dollar purpose-built village in Hamilton will include a learning centre, a Fale-style convention hall, and a wellbeing hub.
K'aute village will include existing nurse-led health, social, employment and education services, as well as Covid-related support.
It will also include GP and pharmacy services integrated into the model in a way that responds to community needs.
K'aute Pasifika Chief Executive Leaupepe Rachel Karalus said the project, which has been in the pipeline for over 20 years, is expected to serve 21,000 Pasifika people.
"Pacific people continue to be challenged in mainstream environment so what we're trying to do as an organisation and as a community is to continue to strengthen our resilience and to continue to enable our communities to take ownership of their own well-being and prosperity," she said.
"The significance of the project itself for us as a community it sends a message to us that we have a voice, we're visible and we're valued.
"The model which we're hoping to operate is to support our rural communities. If you look at GP services, GP shortages everywhere that's been a situation that's been in place for rural communities for a long time."
Photo: ©markhamiltonphotography 2020
Plans to develop beyond Hamilton
The fale, which can fit 600 people, is a distinctive oval shape building constructed entirely of wood and reflects the traditional Pasifika meeting house.
The early learning centre is expected to cater for 85 children and should be open in February.
The project had the backing of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Trust Waikato, the Ministry of Education and the Department of Internal Affairs.
The village is positioned in the heart of Hamilton, opposite the FMG rugby stadium, and near education institutions like Wintec and Hamilton Girls' High School.
Leaupepe is keen on launching a similar village-style project in Tokoroa, which has the densest population of Pasifika in Waikato.
"There'll be a need for community support and wrap around services for those families so that's the current strategic thinking in terms of meeting that anticipated need," said Leaupepe.
"So the ability to support our Pacific community in Tokoroa from when we open our services always been top of mind for us and other rural areas across Waikato.
"This is one project of three that we want to support and deliver. So the next two will be Tokoroa and Ohinewai with 400 Pacific families that need community wrap-around support."
An official opening of the Fale is expected early next year.