David Tua hopes to inspire hundreds of Pacific Men to change lives

Boxing legend David Tua hopes to inspire hundreds of Pacific men with his personal story of anger, depression and suicidal thoughts at the historic Gathering of the 3000 two-day event on June 30 and July 1st.



Hundreds of Pacific men will gather in Wellington to address issues such as family violence, health and financial capability at a time when police investigations into family violence hit a record high.


As a keynote speaker, Tua says it will be an opportunity for men to “talk openly about the challenges they’ve faced and really confront the issues affecting Pacific men and their families”.


“These issues need to be talked about and the negative statistics cannot become the norm. We are so much more than what the statistics say about us, we are intelligent, we are kind, we are loving,” says Tua.


“I’ll be at the Gathering of the 3000 to express the challenging times in my life and how I found a solution to get out of those dark times,” says Tua.


Organisers are looking to register over 3000 Pacific men and their supporters nationally, to agree to a pledge of changing their lives and positively influencing their families and communities.


More than 1000 men are expected to attend the 2-day event on 30 June and 1 July at the Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua.


Other notable speakers include Hon Alfred Ngaro, (Minister for Pacific Peoples, Associate Minister for Children), the Chief Executive of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki Gráinne Moss, Labour’s MP for Mana Kris Faafoi and Human Rights Commission Chief Commissioner David Rutherford.


The event, which is being supported by Ministry of Social Development’s Pasefika Proud programme and other sponsors, will involve more than 30 speakers and workshop sessions aimed at inspiring, equipping and connecting Pacific men.


One of the event organisers and keynote speakers, Chris Te’o, is the founder of the popular USO Bike Ride movement which he set up following the death of his father to pancreatic cancer.


“In terms of Pacific men, our cancer statistics are not great, the reality is that if we’re diagnosed with cancer we’re more likely to die,” says Te’o.


“Unfortunately that was the case for my father, he was one of those guys who didn’t go to the doctor regularly and so from the time of being diagnosed to the time of death, it was only three weeks.


“The Gathering of the 3000 will be a unique event because as Pacific men we need to be more open to talking about our issues and role modelling positive behavior for our sons and families,” says Te’o.


Another organiser Taefu Heker Robertson runs a 12-week Man Up programme that focuses on combating issues such as depression, family violence and obesity.


Robertson will lead a workshop at the Gathering highlighting how “the little changes we make as men can have a big impact on the ones we love”.


“I know from the programme we run,” Robertson says, “that while some of our Pacific men have huge love for their families, that doesn’t always result in them treating their families well.


“This event is such a great opportunity for Pacific men to hear from people that they respect, talking about their lives and what they’ve learned.


Robertson looks forward to hearing from David Tua who he says will have some great stories.


“[Tua will] also have a message about what we as Pacific men can do to strengthen both ourselves and our families.”


For more information and a full programme go to: www.gathering3000.org.nz.