NZ governmentt launches new vision for Pacific communities

Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio. Picture: RNZ

WELLINGTON,15 NOVEMBER 2018 (RNZ PACIFIC)—The New Zealand government has a new vision for Pacific communities in New Zealand.

For the first time in almost 20 years the Ministry for Pacific Peoples met with 350 Pacific community leaders from around New Zealand to announce the new vision with the Pacific Aotearoa Lalanga Fou Report.

The vision says Pacific values are the anchor, each generation weaves the foundations for the next, with Pacific communities innovating within Aotearoa, the Pacific region and the world.

Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio said with 60 percent of the community now born in Aotearoa, it’s time the government’s Pacific vision reflected this.

“This is the start of a conversation where everybody needs to get on board from our community. One of our strengths is being able to work together. But now we’ve got something to talk about, a foundation.”

He said the Pacific Aotearoa vision has been developed from conversations over the past year with 2500 Pacific people around New Zealand.

The report also showed Pacific businesses and not-for-profit organisations have assets of US$5.59 billion, with Pacific households contributing $US7.28 billion annually to the New Zealand economy.

New Zealand’s Minister of Finance Grant Robertson also said New Zealand needs to better understand the contribution of its Pacific community.

Grant Robertson said he was surprised by these totals, and the asset base of the Pacific community is unique because it’s shared across individuals, families and church organisations.

“What we want to do is make sure that the best value comes from those assets. Now that value won’t always be a momentary value. Sometimes it will be a value about how it supports the well being of people and that’s the next challenge and the next stage. I agree with Aupito, these reports today are not an end they’re a beginning.”

Robertson said New Zealand can’t be a good citizen of the Pacific region if it doesn’t understand the contribution of its own Pacific community.

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