11 Apr 2015

Pacific Whanau Ora opens in Northland

10:50 am on 11 April 2015

The first Whanau Ora service for Pacific people has opened in Northland on Friday after pleas for help from churches and struggling families.

Founding Whanau Ora Minister Tariana Turia, left, with members of its governance group.

Founding Whanau Ora Minister Tariana Turia. Photo: RNZ

Up to 50 families, mainly Samoan, Fijian, Tongan and Tuvaluan, will be clients of the new service based in Kaikohe.

It is being run by the Fono, a Pasifika health and social services provider from west Auckland.

The Fono's chief executive, Tevita Funaki, said there were no services in Northland aimed specifically at Pacific families, and churches and communities there asked for Whanau Ora to fill the gap.

Mr Fuanki said many were struggling with poor health, no jobs and isolation from social services.

He said they hoped to help up to 50 families in the first year, particularly by addressing limited access to health services, along with a lack of understanding about how to improve health.