The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken many communities within Aotearoa to their foundations and that couldn’t be truer for our Pasifika communities. Even though times have been tough during this pandemic it has caused Pasifika communities to engage with the strengths they have as a people but also highlight and strengthen weaknesses that they may have.
In this talanoa hosted by Dr. Siautu Alefaio she discusses with panel members Sally Lavea (ADRA), Ronji Tanielu (Salvation Army), Winston and Yvonne Timaloa (PAC19) and Dr Tracie Mafileo (Senior Lecturer – Massey University) this idea of the new working poor as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the concept of salvation packages that were designed to help relieve the economic divide for our Pasifika communities.
Through the discussion this new working poor concept was a label that has been placed on our Pasifika people amidst the COVID-19 pandemic to show how economically disadvantaged we are however what was highlighted is the fact that the Pasifika community was rich in other ways such as hospitality, support and our strong faith values. Another strength of the talanoa was to show how these salvation packages that were aimed to bring relief to those in need came from a place of love and in many forms like food packages and workshops.
This talanoa provoked Pasifika community hubs/leaders (mainly the church and pastors) to really examine and understand their roles to better serve their communities especially during times of disaster. Our hope is that this healthy discussion would ask all Pasifika people to ask themselves: ‘How can I serve my community in a loving way?’