(Disability Information Advice and Support Services)
The DIAS Team is made up of Coordinators who either have a disability, or who know / have a loved one living with a disability. Our team is experienced in providing information, advice and support in all areas of a Pacific disabled person’s life from accessing equipment, building ramps, dispelling negative belief systems and accessing financial support.
Lolomanaia Filiai Tongan
Lolomanaia Filiai has represented Vaka Tautua and the Pacific Community on the NZ Disability Consumer Consortium to the Ministry of Health from 2009 - 1013, rep for Faiva Ora Leadership Group since 2014.
Prior to becoming a DIAS Coordinator, he worked for the Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture in Tonga for nine years. As a person living with disability Lolo is a testament to how Pacific people with disability can live and lead a meaningful lives. Lolomanaia has a beautiful wife and three kids, and enjoys singing, brass band and sports, in particular wheelchair basketball.
Pelenatete Lam Sam Samoan
Pelenatete (Pele) Ah Vui Lam Sam has 17 years’ experience working in the Samoan Public sector, as well as three years in the private sector. She worked for the Public Service Commission for ten years in Management advisory roles as well as Training and Development. She then became Assistant CEO, Corporate Services for the Ministry of Finance for seven years before moving to the National Bank of Samoa as the Human Resource Manager in 2003.
Jacinta Tevaga Samoan
Jacinta is our newest staff member to join our Auckland DIAS Team. Jacinta graduated from Future Skills Academy last year with a Certificate in Mental Health and Addiction. Jacinta is vision impaired and is also currently working part-time at Dans Le Noir Restaurant as a guide/waitress for patrons that want to experience their Sensory, Social and Human Experience. Jacinta started losing her eyesight when she was 17, her experience has ignited her passion to work with Pacific people who have disabilities, especially youth. Jacinta wants to encourage people with disabilities to reach their potential and is excited to do that through DIAS work at Vaka Tautua.
Atonio Hiliate Tongan
Atonio Hiliate is Tongan and is a huge supporter of the Mate Ma’a Tonga team. Previously he worked in retail for 20 years running his own retail business.
Atonio has worked for Vaka Tautua for two years as a Financial Literacy coordinator, and in February last year he took on the role of Older People's Coordinator for the Tongan Otara group. Recently he has been contracted for the DIAS Coordinator role.
Atonio brings his coordinator experience to the DIAS team to help support Pacific people in his networks, communities, connections and churches to access disability services.
Atonio likes to play league in his spare time, he is married with 3 children, his passion is helping people and getting to know the community and meeting new people.
Kramer Hoeflich Cook Islands
Kia Orana, Ko toku ingoa Kramer Hoeflich.
I was born and raised in the beautiful Cook Islands on the island of Rarotonga, till I was 15 were I had a spinal cord injury which changed my life and brought me to New Zealand. During this time, I faced challenges and had to overcome many barriers to become the person I am today. This is where I found my passion to work with young people of all abilities, cultures and backgrounds to make a difference within in the community.
I am a strong believer in the unique ingenuity that young people possess and the unlimited potential that is tapped when we work together as a community. I am passionate about working to change perceptions of what people of all abilities can achieve and contribute. One of the ways I plan on doing this is by building awareness and acceptance around mental illness and breaking the taboo that surrounds disability. I am a strong voice for the both the Pasifika and disability sector, my aim is to bridge the gap between disability, youth and community. Because I am such a believer in dreams and the value we all bring, my ultimate goal is to lead from the front as Minster of disability one day.
"Do not follow where the path may lead. Instead go where there is no path & leave a trail."
Faye Seumanutafa Samoan
Faauuga Faye Seumanutafa worked for the Samoan Treasury Department as an Accounts clerk for four years prior to becoming a DIAS Coordinator at Vaka Tautua. She has 26 years’ experience in the Accounting industry, and also worked for Gerard Lighting for 15 years where she was the assistant Finance Manager for five of those years.
Siaosi Anamani Samoan
Siaosi was born and raised in Porirua, with extensive work experience within the Health sector.
He is very passionate in supporting and helping people make positive changes within their life’s journey through the support systems from within the organisation and beyond with a personal touch of his own skills, knowledge and experiences.
Coming into Vaka Tautua and being a part of the DIAS Team, I’m humbled, amazed and inspired by the determination shared by consumers and staff and this excites me to add value in their lives and mine.
Outside of work, Siaosi enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, staying active through exercise and social sports and chilling out with family and friends.
Kaiongo Tupou (Tongan, Christchurch)
Kaiongo Tupou was born and raised in Kolofo’ou, Tonga. He attended Tonga College and Hanazono University in Japan. Kaiongo has qualifications in Social Services, Disability Information Provision and Sports Management. Kaiongo worked for the Tonga Sports Association as a Sports Development Officer and Trainer for the Tongan Paralympics Team back in 2006-2008. He also played and represented Tonga in their International Rugby Team and played rugby in France from 2006-2013. Kaiongo joined Vaka Tautua in 2013 and he is currently has been serving voluntarily as a Bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints since 2015. Kaiongo can speak Fluent Tongan, English, French and a bit of Japanese. Kaiongo says his passion- “Is to be a miracle in someone else’s life”
Lepou Tuulua (Samoan, Christchurch)
Lepou Suia Tuulua is a registered Samoan interpreter and translator. She has over 30 years of experience in administration. Previously she has worked at the Department of Social Welfare, Pacific Trust Canterbury and The Department of Corrections. Lepou was born in Mulinuu, Samoa, and was bestowed a chiefly title, Lepou, at her Grandfather’s village of Ti’avea.