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Vaka Tautua Awarded Health Innovation Grants

Vaka Tautua and its partners PIASS Trust, Tofa Mamao and Pacific Homecare, will be delivering innovative, ground-breaking initiatives in the disability and older peoples spaces, thanks to two Ministry of Health Pacific Community Fund grants (formerly known as the Pacific Innovation Fund awards).


Vaka Tautua Chief Executive Officer, Dr Amanda-Lanuola Dunlop, is thrilled about the awards and the positive difference the initiatives will make in the lives of peoples with disabilities and older peoples.


"These initiatives are about responding to our Pacific communities' needs - what they have shared with us. They're also about 'thinking outside the box', trying 'new ways of doing' in the hope of achieving better outcomes for them, and obtaining new knowledge and insights, of what works for our communities," said Amanda.


Vaka Tautua was the only provider to be awarded two grants, in this contestable process. The "Tofa Mamao: Valuing lived experience" initiative, a national project, is focused on supporting Pacific disabled peoples, their families and caregivers to achieve their health and wellbeing goals and aspirations through increased social connectedness, social inclusion and access to services. It involves a online portal with service information, live discussion forums and support groups. Regional social networking hubs to enable disabled peoples, their families and caregivers to connect, engage, share; and advocate for, and promote, disability issues and priorities is another key component. The "Matua: Ola manuia" initiative is an Auckland regional project that is focused on increasing Pacific older peoples' health and wellbeing through social connectedness, social inclusion and social enterprise. It involves 12 ethnic-specific day programmes per week comprising regular health education seminars, health checks and cultural arts and craft-making activities. Six-monthly "Matua days" for the older peoples to sell their handiworks and celebrate their cultures through signing and dance is another key component. Both initiatives are for three years.


Back row: Una (PIASS Trust Board member), Pati Umaga, Ben Tameifuna

Front row: Lavinia Lovo and Naomi (Tofa Mamao executive).


Both initiatives are 'firsts' for Pacific peoples and New Zealand. COVID only highlighted the importance of the initiatives.


"Our proposals were submitted in March, pre-COVID. A high proportion of our Pacific disabled struggled with no means of connecting and engaging with others during this period. Similarly our older peoples. To be able to implement these initiatives to address this, and learn from them, is exciting. We can't wait to get going," said Amanda.


Some of our older peoples supporters.


The Tofa Mamao initiative will be implemented in partnership with PIASS Trust and Tofa Mamao; and Matua: Ola manuia in partnership with Pacific Homecare. These organisations also contributed to the development of the proposals. The initiatives start in August 2020.

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Vaka Tautua is a national “by Pacific for Pacific” health and social services provider. Established in 2007 by the PIASS and Malologa Trusts, we are a not-for-profit limited liability company registered with the Charities Commission.

We meet industry standards and have quality accreditation. We hold DAA Group Certification against Standard NZS 8134:2008 Health and Disability Services; Ministry of Social Development Social Sector Accreditation Standards Level 2, and Accreditation as a Living Wage employer.

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