At present I am working with a Pacific Island Organisation based in Hamilton, Waikato Region. 
This Organisation consists of three parts: Health, Social Services Unit and Education and this is specifically for Pacific Island people living in the Waikato Region. 
In the Social Services Unit there are three Social Workers, of which I am the Coordinator. We work with social issues such as Housing, Immigration, Budgeting and especially Domestic/Family Violence supporting and helping families in time of need.
Currently, the Social Service Unit Team is coordinating and running a project called:, "Home-Based Family Violence Awareness Prevention".
Nationally, there was a programme launched in 2013 by the Ministry of Social Development called: "Nga Vaka ’o Kainga Tapu" - sailing vessels (journey) of the whole family. The meaning is about sharing experiences and their journey, trying to understand how to cope and deal with domestic/family violence of different Pacific Island ethnic groups here in New Zealand. 
Research was done by Pacific Island Professionals and with the help of the Police and funded by the Government because of the increasing numbers of domestic and family violence within the Pacific Island families in New Zealand. 
Aim and Goals
The aim of the programme is: 
  • To raise their awareness and to find ways to prevent violence within their home and environment. 
  • To educate families to be able to minimize domestic family violence within their home. 
The programme consists of the seven frameworks for all seven Pacific Island ethnic groups. 80% of the people who are engaged with the home-based family violence awareness/prevention programme migrated to New Zealand many years ago, and yet they still struggle to understand, adjust and adapt to life in NZ. The language can be a hindrance to their understanding fully what is going on.
Example 1
Cook Islands 
Fijian Tongan 
   Tuvalu/Kiribati    Structure  Samoan 
Niuean Tokelaun
The framework helped each group to express, encourage, and respect the values of their own culture and language, and to be able to deal and cope with domestic violence within their own family environment. 
Further development from 2013: The Organisation created a new programme known as "home-based violence awareness/ prevention" in response to the increase of Domestic/Family Violence in New Zealand. This is funded by the Ministry of Social Development for a year. 
Content of the Programme:
  • 10 families from each ethnic group, ranging in age from 25 to 45 years. 
  • The programme runs at home and in each group language. 
  • Three different phases: 
  1.  Questionnaire for individual family 
  2. Share experiences within the group 
  3. Celebration and acknowledgement of the work done.
  • Positive feedback from families that participated. 
  • Appreciated the programme was done at home and in their own language. 
  • Helped to understand and respect that NZ law is there to protect them. 
  • Greater understanding of the importance finding helpful ways to discipline their children. 
  1. Domestic Violence is not OK – is not a normal way to live. 
  2. Culture is not an excuse for any behaviour.
  • There is a call to change.
A positive outcome from one of the families. They shared how they treated each other violently and how that had become a norm to follow in their daily life. Shouting and verbal abuse of each other in front of their children affected the children’s behaviour at home and at school. During the programme they realised that their behaviour was not acceptable or helpful for them nor for their family. So they plan to respect one another, and start to appreciate one another by acknowledging the good in the other and say "thank you" and "please".
  • Lack of funding 
  • Continuation of the programme 
  • Availability of people to engage in the programme 
  • Qualified staff to continue the work 
  • Follow-up with families involved 
  • Programme completed end of May 2016
Participants are from different denominations and each phase of the programme begins and ends with prayer. 
At the end of this programme we plan to give a lighted candle signifying that each family takes the light of Christ into their home and this will remind them to continue to live in the light of Christ – deepening their respect and love for one another.
Personally, for me working with the programme has made me more aware of sharing Gospel values. 
At the moment I am awaiting my visa to join the USA Territory. I am grateful to the Congregation for the opportunity to help and support my family. Also I am thankful for the Kaute Pacifica Organization for the opportunity to work there up to now. I have enjoyed working with different projects and especially the poor and the needy families. I have gained a lot of experience and confidence to continue the mission of the Little Sisters of the Assumption.
Sr Heleni 
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