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Pasifika communities no closer to getting their dreamed-of fale

May 28th, 2013 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

PATIENT PASIFIKA: Members of Wellington’s Pasifika community listen to an update on their fale proposal

THE Pacific Advisory Group (PAG) is maintaining its push for a Pasifika fale (meeting centre) to be built in Wellington for the Pacific islands community.

PAG has a liaison role between Wellington City Council and the city’s Pasifika communities.

PAG chairwoman Tina McNicholas, speaking at a Pasifika forum this month to update the community on its fale submission, said: “The idea of the ‘Pacific fale’ was something that was proposed a few years ago by the Tongan community, and a submission went to the council with the understanding that this would be considered.

“Basically, the council’s community and facility policy that was adopted in 2009 is limited to facilities based on locality, and so the feedback from council was that a facility focused on a population, such as Pacific, would be inconsistent with policy.”

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and council had suggested some solutions, offering alternatives for the community to consider.

One of those options was the possible redevelopment of the Newtown community centre.

“This is something that was identified and part of a long-term plan,” Ms McNicholas said. “There’s an opportunity for us to think about how that might be a possible venue that we could work with council on.”

She said the Newtown community centre redevelopment option would need to take into account the needs of those in the surrounding community; planning would begin in the 2016- 2017 year.

The centre would have to be used in a number of ways; there is an opportunity there for it to address some of the issues associated with the fale.

“The second option given to us by council is the willingness to hear and to support an initiative that was well considered, that was fully costed, that was clear about the scope and the use and the function of such a Pacific facility.

“Council offered this as an option by saying it would be prepared to provide assistance in the way of technical expertise and analysis and advice to our communities who were serious about putting their thoughts together and coming together to put forward a proposal.”

Ms McNicholas said the council was also offering its support to seek additional sources of funding.

Former PAG chairwoman Ida Faiumu-Isa’ako and other members of the community attending the meeting expressed their frustration at to the council’s response.

Siofilisi Taufo’ou, PAG’s Tongan representative, reiterated the community’s desire: “We want to be able to go to a building and feel at home.” Nevertheless he believes that the council does want to fulfil Pasifika needs.

At the last PAG meeting, in February, Wellington city councillor Ian McKinnon had said at the previous PAG meeting, in February, that complicating factors were always the resourcing and the demands that that made on ratepayers.

“The Pasifika community is a contributing community who have come to New Zealand to contribute,” Mr McKinnon said.

“The Indian centre and Chinese centre were paid for by themselves. These are communities who are well established – migration from the Pacific to New Zealand is relatively recent.”

He said he would be happy to help and work alongside the community in any initiative.


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