Developing a Culturally Competent Workforce that Meets the Needs of Pacific People Living in New Zealand

Developing a Culturally Competent Workforce that Meets the Needs of Pacific People Living in New Zealand

Fuimaono Karl Pulotu-Endemann, Monique Faleafa
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1874-7.ch008
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This chapter provides an overview of innovative Pacific workforce development initiatives. Pacific people have higher rates of mental illness, substance abuse, and suicide attempts, as well as lower rates of service access compared to New Zealand's general population. Pacific families also tend to have high and complex mental health needs, traditional cultural worldviews that are different from the dominant western mental health paradigms, and a workforce with severe under-representation of Pacific people. National non-government organization (NGO) Le Va, was established to reduce ethnic disparities in the access to, and quality of mental health and addictions services, through a targeted workforce development strategy to achieve better outcomes for Pacific people. This chapter specifically describes three of Le Va's programmes designed to increase Pacific workforce capacity and capability, and cultural competency of the “mainstream” workforce. These include cultural competency training, effective upskilling and growth through scholarships and support, and leadership development.
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This chapter marks the first documented overview of New Zealand’s first and only national Pacific mental health and addiction workforce development programme. The objective is to describe how the not-for-profit organisation, Le Va, is addressing the challenges of over-representation of Pacific people with mental illness and addiction issues through workforce development solutions. In order to do this, context is required to give perspective of the historical issues, current social, economic and health profile, and potentially contrasting cultural worldviews of health and well-being.

  • I am not an individual,

  • I am an integral part of the cosmos.

  • I share divinity with my ancestors, the land, the seas and the skies.

  • I am not an individual because

  • I share a tofi with my family, my village, my nation.

  • I belong to my family and my family belongs to me.

  • I belong to my village and my village belongs to me.

  • I belong to my nation and my nation belongs to me.

  • This is the essence of my sense of belonging.

  • Tui Atua TupuaTamasese, (2002)

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