22 Sep 2016

NZ pacific unaware of health services on offer

6:54 pm on 22 September 2016

A lack of awareness of services on offer is preventing many Pacific youth from proper health care in New Zealand.

Students in Auckland take part in the Aha mentoring programme which uses music to combat bullying.

Students in Auckland take part in the Aha mentoring programme which uses music to combat bullying. Photo: Supplied/ Pasifika Foundation

The latest University of Auckland report based on findings from the a 2012 survey revealed many students are exposed to unhealthy food environments and have significant barriers in accessing health and dental care.

Its lead writer Jacinta Fa'alili-Fidow says many parents aren't aware of free maternal health services or free dental care for those up to the age of 18.

But she says other barriers also exist.

"Some of that is about awareness and certainly some of that could also be around trust issues with the sector and perhaps just difficulty getting to the dentist whether it be time-wise or financially."

Jacinta Fa'alili-Fidow also said Pacific health providers worked hard to help Pacific youth but society needed to demand more from its leaders to get effective change.