Turning Perception of Pacific to Positive
As an ordained minister and with degrees in law, arbitration and accounting from the University of Victoria in Wellington, he was determined King’s Force would establish itself as a credible and prudent organisation.
It needed to be after a previous Hawke’s Bay Pacific-run organisation had closed its doors in 2011 after an audit found it was reaching only a small amount of the population it was aiming for.
“I came back to the Hawke’s Bay because there was a genuine sense the Pacific population was struggling and weren’t being catered for,” he says.
“Considering there are more than 6000 living in the region, that’s not good enough. But there was a definite lack of trust to overcome.”
Having previously worked for a Maori organisation, Makisua felt the negative reputation was unfair.
“Pacific organisations get limited funding in comparison, but we knew we had to make the most of what we had to turn that perception around.”
He’s pleased that they generally have, with their popular Early Childhood Centre in Napier nearly full to capacity with enrolments.
Through the Aere Tai Whanau Ora contract, King’s Force is also looking after 63 families spread across the vast Bay region including Napier, Hastings up to Wairoa.
Makisua, originally from Fasitoo in Samoa, says the Pacific population has evolved and grown considerably over the years. That has resulted in an increasing diversity of needs.
“Pacific populations came to the region to work in orchards and decided to settle. But through the RSE (Recognised Seasonal Labour) scheme, we’re getting workers from the islands who are coming in to do the work, then leaving. They take the money they’re earning with them and the locals miss out on the opportunity” he says.
“We are a Pacific provider and want to help all our people, but those who want to make the region their home are our priority, because we see real poverty out there. Whether it’s Whanau Ora, Early Childhood Education or health, we run everything on the smell of an oily rag, but we’re making a positive difference. I can see it in the transformation of our Whanua Ora families and that makes it all worthwhile.”
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