Pacific families living on the North Shore will now benefit from community-based services delivered by The Fono, Auckland’s largest Pacific-owned healthcare provider, when The Fono officially opened a new location on Saturday 1 October at Raeburn House in the Northcote Shopping Centre.
Chief Executive Officer of The Fono, Tevita Funaki, says The Fono is thrilled to be delivering ‘Waitemata Family Start’, the ‘Stop Smoking Service’, ‘Pacific Whanau Ora’ and the ‘Enua Ola Programme’ on the North Shore.
“To finally launch an office on the North Shore is a historical occasion for The Fono,” he says.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to share our range of services and the vast experience we have in our team to this community.”
Services will be coordinated and run from new North Shore offices out of Raeburn House in the Northcote Shopping Centre, first floor of the Norman King Building at 65 Pearn Crescent.
With approximately 8,500 Pacific people living on the Shore (2013 NZ Census), the area has a relatively small Pacific population compared to other parts of Auckland.
But Tevita says the population’s need for specialised support is high and The Fono is looking forward to working with other agencies and groups to make positive and sustainable differences.
“There are Pacific families with genuine high needs in pockets such as Northcote, Birkenhead, Beach Haven and Birkdale,” he says.
“With the new social housing going into the Shore, it is vital that families are supported effectively. There hasn’t been a strong Pacific presence in terms of support and so it is easy to understand why we’ve been warmly welcomed by other local organisations.”
Local Waitemata Community Engagement Manager for the NZ Police, William Fanene (pictured on the far right), agrees in the need for The Fono’s presence.
“I oversee the harm due to family violence, alcohol and youth offending in the area, and with the Pacific population growing there’s a great need for the service in the area,” he says.
Dr Rod Watts from Presbyterian Support Northern recalls meeting Tevita a few years ago to take over a Family Start Service in Waitakere at short notice.
“We worked together to have the service up and running within the 6-8 week period we were given, by establishing trust and respect with each other and bringing our joint capability to the fore for the benefit of the mothers and babies involved,” he says.
“The community at Raeburn House as a whole will benefit from The Fono being here.”
Tevita is grateful for the support of the Waitemata and Auckland DHBs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development and ProCare.
Access to The Fono North Shore at Raeburn House is at the end of Pearn Place, with free parking available.