Manukau, AKL – Thursday 12 of September is a day to be etched in memory and New Zealand’s history, when 30+ people arrived from Samoa and received by the Pacific Settlement Support Services team.
PSSS provides settlement support services for Pacific newcomers to New Zealand which includes those who have been successful through the Samoan quota or the Pacific Access Category (PAC).
The Pacific Business Hub in Manukau City where PSSS is located was abuzz with activity with it’s 2-day Kiwi Life programme as they received individuals and families from Samoa who had been successful with the quota.
The day was opened with a prayer by Pastor Lui Ponifasio to bless and encourage our newcomers about life in New Zealand.
“Aua le faalogologo tiga, galue malosi ma le faamaoni, aua le ma e fesili mo se fesoasoani ma aua nei galo Iesu” – Don’t give up easily when things start to get difficult, work hard and be committed, don’t be shy to ask for help and never forget Jesus.
“E le o toe tafe le susu ma le meli i Niu Sila.” - Milk and honey doesn’t flow freely in NZ anymore.
He ended by encouraging everyone to be involved in their new communities, enjoy the many opportunities that NZ has to offer and to be prosperous.
This was followed by refreshments for our newcomers to NZ and their families, which were about 50 in total on Thursday.
There was a resounding echo of gratefulness by our newcomers from Samoa and their NZ families alike. “Faafetai lava mo lenei feasoasoani, e ese le aoga toe taua, manaia o lea ua iloa mai le ofisa e toomaga iai pea fia maua le fesoasoani.” - Thank you for this service, it is very useful and important and it is nice to know there is an office to go to when help is needed.
It was followed by a presentation by the New Zealand Police, delivered in the Samoan language, informing and educating the people about Law & Order as well as a presentation from Inland Revenue Department who helped the team with processing IRD numbers.
Friday saw the team doing one-on-one sessions with each individual or family to find out what their immediate needs are and what their goals are in the near future with the day ending with the team taking them to the Bank to open bank accounts.
Pacific Settlement Support Services, a first of its kind service in New Zealand, was set up 3 months ago by 3 Samoan women, Zeprina Fale, Laura Keil-Hall and Mandy Siitia through a collaboration between their organisations. Zeprina and Mandy through Bluespur Charitable Trust and Laura through LKH Consulting. Laura also owns and runs The Pacific Business Hub.
Later they connected with Roberta Tiatia and Sheryl Silitia of Lototau Agency Immigration Services based in Samoa whom they now work closely with and as a partner in Samoa doing pre-migration work.
“We saw the need for this service based on our own shared migration experiences” says
“Statistics and anecdotal feedback from many of our Pacific people points to the lack of settlement support and a need for a service such as this” she continues
Mandy Siitia adds “For us it’s continuing the work that some of our Pacific Island families have been doing since the 1950s”
Laura Keil-Hall adds that she has been involved with talks and conversations with some government people and stakeholders in the past and tried to push for something like this but it always fell on deaf ears. She says this is a crucial service that is needed by our people and yet no one wants to do something about it until she met Zeprina and Mandy who were equally passionate about this and now here they are.
What PSSS wants to do is to position our Pacific people for prosperity and give them the best start possible with life in New Zealand.
Because it’s never been done before, the PSSS team are looking to flex and adjust according to the needs of the people, and the programme to be delivered in a way that is culturally relevant and spiritually sensitive.
The service is not funded so a fee is charged for the services.
PSSS acknowledges the support of the Community, New Zealand Police, Inland Revenue, the In-Hub businesses at the Pacific Business Hub and the Samoa Business Network.
To make contact with Pacific Settlement Support Services, you may visit their office in Auckland, 9 Sharkey Street, Manukau City or contact +64 218 8273 or +64 21 963 301