17 Aug 2015

NZ group joins with Tongan princess to address suicide

2:04 pm on 17 August 2015

A New Zealand-based Pasifika organisation working to reduce suicide rates in New Zealand's Pacific community has signed an agreement with a Tongan princess to help with measures there.

Le Va signed the agreement with Princess Angelika Latufuipeka Tuku'aho, to cooperate on suicide prevention measures in both countries and to share experiences.

The chief executive of Le Va, Monique Faleafa, says little is known about suicide in Pacific communities and the Princess' involvement will really help confront a taboo subject.

Dr Faleafa says the first goal is to analyse data on suicide in Tonga to create a prevention programme that will work for Tonga.

"It is a tapu subject, and it is a tapu area to talk about which is why we really need to acknowledge the Princess Angelika for her forward thinking. And she's really young and youthful and she really knows that in order to address suicide and suicide-prevention, certainly in Tonga, we need to go through young people."

Monique Faleafa says she's had approaches from other Pacific countries for similar partnerships.

Le Va Chief Executive Monique Faleafa

Le Va Chief Executive Monique Faleafa Photo: Le Va / Tongan High Commission, Canberra