Stopping Family Harm a Collective Effort


​​Family Fiefia events poster

Famili Fiefia (Stop Family Harm) event this Saturday and Sunday at St Kevins College, Ōamaru.

The Famili Fiefia being held at St Kevins College this Saturday will be a day of fun for families and the community as a whole, featurin​g face-painting, a bouncy castle and a lolly scramble. This will be followed by a combined Church Service at the College on Sunday and will be the first in what is hoped to be a series of events bringing people together to build a strong, safe and resilient Waitaki.

Last year, a group of women, passionate about creating positive impact on their community met with Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon. Aupito William Sio at the Tuli Takes Flight – Lalanga Fou Fono in Oamaru.

Oranga Tamariki Youth Justice Social Worker and President Tongan Society South Canterbury Inc Siesina (Sina) Latu; Coordinator for Safer Waitaki and Community Development Coordinator for Waitaki District Council Helen Algar (QSM); and Oamaru Pacific Island Community Group Inc’s Hana Halalele have since joined forces to organise an event to combat family harm, a huge issue in the Waitaki region, Sina says.

“Family harm is a big issue our Pasifika families are facing and there is a real need to raise awareness and also need of programmes, workshops and services to help our kainga who are experiencing family harm,” she says.

Waitaki is a fast-growing Pacific community, with the largest ethnic group hailing from Tonga, followed by Tuvaluan, Fijian, Samoan, Tokelauan, Cook Islands, with ethnic specific community groups and churches.

A working group was formed to organise the Famili Fiefia, featuring representatives from each ethnic group, and youth, as they make up a large majority of the Pacific population in Waitaki and are it future leaders; with the hope this generation will break the cycle of family harm.

Committee member Hana Halalele says Safer Waitaki has called on church, community and youth leaders from around the region to attend and support the Famili Fiefia. “We use a model to ensure we collaborate and work in partnership with key groups in the Waitaki community and co-design projects with the community. “This will help our Pasifika community build connections with important messaging to support positive safe families.”

The organising committee said in a statement: “The Famili Fiefia is a coming together to experience and participate in activities designed by our youth under the leadership of Ilaisipa Tahaafe. These activities embrace our Famili Fiefia values supporting happy and healthy family relationships.” Helen Algar WDC, Safer Waitaki Coordinator says “The event will include presentations, key messages, fun games and challenges and will conclude with sport and cultural items we wish to acknowledge the South Canterbury Tongan Society who are working collaboratively in support with members travelling to Oamaru to attend meetings and St Kevins College for making the school available for this important event. ”

“Our Safer Waitaki Goals are about building strong, safe and resilient communities, and key priority areas are increasing pathways and opportunities to support people/family/whanau to flourish in our community and to promote healthy respectful relationships,” Helen explains.

“We have supported and facilitated events for various sectors of our community but had not yet done so for Pasifika - I saw an opportunity to enable a collaborative approach to addressing family harm that was inclusive and relevant to Pacific people.”

She says working together with Hana, Sina and the combined Pacific communities has been fantastic. “It has given life to the dream and it has been possible through the support of Waitaki District Council, Safer Waitaki and enabled with funding from Oranga Tamariki.

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Page reviewed: 05 Feb 2020 10:56am