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Whau Pasifika Trust celebrates Pasifika peoples & cultures

The charitable trust, Whau Pasifika, celebrates and supports Pasifika peoples of all ages and nations.

It covers the same area as the Whau Local Board, including Avondale, Blockhouse Bay, Glenavon, Green Bay, Kelston, New Lynn and New Windsor.

‘Our purpose is to gather and amplify the voices of Pasifika peoples in the Whau area,’ explains Whau Pasifika Trust’s Ina Patisolo.

Whau Pasifika takes the lead in various community-led Pasifika projects and events. The popular school holiday programme and the successful launch event for Awa Stories are among the many fantastic projects. Awa Stories shared locals’ experiences of awa (water) in a special celebration at Avondale Library in a modern take on oral history traditions.

In another ground-breaking initiative, Whau Pasifika gifted 60 local families with new and refurbished laptops. This project involved local youths aged 11 to 17 working together to refurbish old council laptops that were no longer needed.

Ina says Whau Pasifika is responsive to the local community and its needs. She says a priority that comes up time and again is young people.

'In the Whau area, we know there is a huge unmet need for tech empowerment for our Māori and Pasifika families,’ Ina reports.

For many of us, tech means computers and laptops. However, Whau Pasifika Trust wanted to engage with young people using different forms of technology. The aim was to highlight to rangatahi that technology offers many opportunities for new skills and knowledge.

The innovative Pasifika Youth Leadership Forum did just that with a Finding Your Voice workshop led by Tongan director and writer Ofakilevuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki. She led an inspiring workshop exploring how she found and used her voice in life and films. Around 50 high school and intermediate students attended the one-day event.

The movie theme was carried on in the Whau Pacific Festival held over a week in July. A highlight was taking over Avondale’s Hollywood Cinema for an interactive gaming event hosted by Gametan’s Tongan founder, Ray Cocker. Following this was a free screening of the movie Whina about the life of trailblazing Māori leader Dame Whina Cooper. These events brought together several generations of Pacific locals in a real community celebration.

Funding of $5,000 from the Your West Support Fund contributed to the costs of these exciting projects. ‘The Your West Support Fund allowed us to be creative. It opened doors and lit many sparks we can now really fire up,’ declares Ina.

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