Friday 17th September, 11:00am - 12:30pm 

Room 1

(3 presentations)

'Do Not Treat Me Like I Am 5 Years Old’: The Samoan Family Response?
Fuafiva Fa’alau


Dementia is a global health issue, and its prevalence is increasing for New Zealand due to its aging populations. Dementia is described as a set of symptoms that include memory loss and difficulties with thinking. The number of Pacific cases with dementia in New Zealand is increasing and expected to rise in 2038. Dementia is a progressive disease and has no cure. There is no Samoan word or diagnosis for dementia. The LIDIA (Living with Dementia) research project explored the lived experiences of families living with dementia in New Zealand. The study found that caring for the needs of those who were diagnosed with dementia is challenging. Fifteen Samoan families took part in this project. This presentation will focus on the social and psychological impacts of living with dementia on these Samoan families' lives and mental well-being. To better inform culturally appropriate dementia care and support services, some recommendations will be suggested and discuss in more depth.  


Dr Fuafiva is a senior lecturer and a deputy director for the Bachelor of Health Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Auckland. She has worked in academic units, health, and the social services sector for the last 20 years. Fuafiva is also a director for Sea of Islands Limited that offers mentoring for new Pacific services.

Educational Leadership: Relational Connectedness in Policy and in Practice
Mahrukh Khan


This paper is an individual endeavour and would employ qualitative research from the disciplines of leadership theories, Maori leadership myths, and concepts from pedagogical practice, to establish a Maori inspired teaching and learning approach. The paper will also include symbolic review of Maori artefacts, such as the hoe (boat paddle) and heru (comb) for their  learning and teaching pedagogical implications. Inspired by Maori mythology, leadership is about the “‘ranga’ of ‘ranagtira’, [which] is an abbreviation of  ‘raranga’ (weaving), and [the word] ‘tira’[that] signifies a group. One of the key characteristics of a rangatira is to weave the group into one; to provide a sense of unity” (Katene, 2013, p.13). So according to the Maori leadership perspective, every individual is  a rangatira who are able to see the importance of the collective in ‘rangatiratanga’, highlighting that authority embodied in that concept is also the authority of that people” (p.18). These significant Maori concepts on leading and leadership underpin the basis of this research and has significant implications for an alternative model of educational growth centred on relational connectedness and a general sense of communal wellbeing ; such a model of educational leadership has significant implications for teaching and learning environments.

Most definitions on ‘leadership’ are inclined towards defining it as a process of influence. This paper is inspired by Maori concepts of influence and ideals of leadership. The term ‘rangatira’ sheds light on the nature of Maori leadership and “encapsulates the interdependent and collectivist nature of Maori society (Katene, 2013, p.13). The research has pedagogical implications for the teaching and learning of ‘Leadership’ as a specific field of knowledge and especially aims to challenge and reconsider the management of educational leadership in the teaching and learning contexts and also in general organisational contexts as a theoretical and practical model to follow.


Lecturer Communication in Practice and Engineering Communication, Department of Professional Engineering, TechPark, Manukau Institute of Technology, Manukau.

Dr Khan completed her doctorate in English from the University of Auckland and that is where she held her first teaching affiliation.

She is currently working with the Department of Professional Engineering as a Communications lecturer. She pursues the discussion and development of alternative and conceptually diverse ontologies. Her current research interests have implications for learning and teaching processes.

Asian Young People’s Views on Family, Social/Cultural Factors and Sexuality Education
Nelly Choy


Sexuality education is an important source of sexual information for young people and is most effective when informed by the views of young people themselves. This presentation focuses on the question “What are Asian young people’s views on family, social and cultural factors that can provide insights to make sexuality education culturally relevant for them?” Findings indicate the influences of sexual messages and inferences from parental scripts and the absence or lack of Asian parent-adolescent sexual communication. Although sexuality education is important to Asian young people, it cannot be viewed in isolation from family, social and cultural influences that are embedded in their lives and can impact their sexuality (Ali, 2014).

It is argued that understanding the challenges of family, social and cultural factors is crucial to support Asian young people develop their sexual identity that embodies a sexual self within their own social and cultural context. It has the potential to enhance the social and cultural relevance of sexuality education for Asian as well as other culturally diverse young people. As immigration to Aotearoa-New Zealand continues to increase the diversity of the population, sexuality education that can cater to serve the needs of young people from culturally diverse backgrounds is essential and of great importance (Ministry of Education, 2015). Sexuality education needs to recognize the cultural sexual norms and the influences of family and social factors which have significant impact on the formation and expression of sexuality of culturally diverse young people.


Nelly Choy is a lecturer and researcher with the School of Health and Counselling, Manukau Institute of Technology. Her presentation highlights some of the findings from her doctoral thesis entitled “Asian young people’s views on how sexuality education can equip and empower them to make informed sexual choices.”

Room 2

(2 presentations)

Working with Pasifika Around Issues of Violence
Sharyn Wilson


Pacific peoples experience significant rates of family violence in Aotearoa New Zealand. 
Family violence is complex, which requires practitioners to match interventions to a wide range of people and different types of family structures. “Aiga” or family in Pacific culture is central to people’s being. Therefore, individuals usually identify themselves within the context and relational connection to their families or communities. Currently, access to culturally safe therapy is limited. Selected therapists, many who are not trained to work with Pacific communities, are appointed as part of many funded initiatives and programmes targeting violence. There is a growing interest among therapists working with Pasifika, to know how to work culturally and effectively with their clients. My oral presentation will discuss common challenges and cultural dilemmas facing both Pasifika clients and practitioners working with them.  I will focus on practical ways to enhance the therapeutic process with cultural consideration.


Sharyn Wilson is of Samoan and Scottish descent.  She was born in NZ but spent some of her childhood years growing up in Fugalei, a Samoan village where she experienced the culture of Samoa.  Sharyn’s involvement with both victims and perpetrators of violence within the Pasifika community, has given her valuable insight into effective ways of incorporating cultural practices in therapy.  She has also co-authored a paper with Dr. Fa’alau on the topic of Family violence from a Pasifika perspective. Sharyn is a cultural advisor and consultant, the Director of Soul Talk Auckland, based in Manukau, Auckland. 

The Traditional Samoan Ritual Ifoga Offers Many Pathways to Wellbeing for Samoans and Pacific Communities and Their Families
Alapua Poasa


My philosophy is centred on increasing the resilience and well-being of our community members in all aspects of life.  I appreciate different cultures and beliefs, and I believe that indigenous knowledge is necessary for working in a varied community of people from many ethnic backgrounds. Concerning Tangata Whenua o Aotearoa, I incorporate the values of the Treaty of Waitangi into my profession.

(“O le ala I le pule o le tautua “ “The pathway to leadership is through service”).

Faafetai ma ia manuia.


I am a Samoa counsellor with over twenty years of experience working with an affluent diversity society. I strive for education to increase awareness of why people behave in specific ways and contribute to their overall well-being. I recently completed a research project titled "The Path of Ifoga" in partial fulfilment of the Master of Professional Practice degree requirements. I am currently the Team Leader for the Mental Health and Addiction Services working for Taeaomanino Trust.

Room 3

(1 presentation)

What Would a Cook Islands Māori Approach to Counselling Look Like?
Thomas Tarurongo Wynnne


Should Indigenous Practises and Pathways be driven by indigenous people and for indigenous people? With the overlay of Western constructs, ideologies and ways of knowing for Pacific peoples, has heir been a struggle to forge their own ways of knowing, engaging and especially around the idea of counselling, and counselling in Pacific communities both in the Pacific and here in Aotearoa. How do we as indigenous people move from the researched to the researchers, and put an end to being “othered” in conversations about ourselves and the conscious bias and power structures that support these diminishing narratives?

The Vaka Taurua – a model Cook Islands? Pāsifika Model of Practice and engagement.

Working in the Cook Islands as a Counsellor for ten years, it was clear to me the models I had used would not fit, and especially around the challenges of time, its importance and how it is measured, relationships and super connectivity as well the complexity of living in a small community. The work around Suicide prevention and intergenerational abuse needed a Maori approach and a Maori world view to “mata kit e mata” these issues face to face. Birthed from this complex dilemma was the formation of a model of practice that would work and did provide a Segway into people’s lives far greater then western Models or even other Pasifika models used previously.

The need for change

The three years spent working on a Suicide prevention response for government, led to key findings in working with especially young people in the Cook Islands and the idea that a client/student led response would give us he clues we needed a support workers across government and in the private sector/ngos to better understand and then better respond to the challenge of suicide and mental health in general for young people and the community.

A Spate of Suicides in 2013 led to a working group that led a body of research.


Self-determination has always been a good measure of inner health for a community, a country or its people. This has been met in a number of political and social ways and often understood in the pathway for indigenous communities struggling to free themselves from the ravages of Colonialism and Imperialism. But it can also be experienced in the tools we use to met individual health/spiritual/emotional needs of clients especially when we supplant western ideologies, frameworks, ways of knowing on to indigenous communities.

The Vaka Taurua Model is an attempt to step away from this reliance on other ways of knowing and to start to build upon our acquired knowledge and world view as Cook Islands Māori and self determine, self actualise and moemoea tatou – or dream of our own way.


My Mother is Ngati Kaena, Ngati Te Ava and Ngati Ingatu from the Islands of Rarotonga and Enuamanu, and my Father from Dublin Ireland.

I am an experienced cross cultural communicator with a history of working in the government relations and education support services sector. I have a Bachelor of Social Services Counselling from Otago Polytechnic and am steadily working through the Masters of Applied Management.

I have 5 adult children and seven grandchildren, with number 8 due in September. I am happily married and work in Parliament in the Labour Leaders Office as a Communications Advisor to the Labour Pasifika Ministers and MPs known as the Labour Pasifika Caucus.

E Kai venevene e tuatua te monomono korero...nourishing are the words of our teachers is a Kama’atu or Wise saying that applies to my life and my work no matter where I find myself.

Room 4

(1 presentation)

I MUA I TE AROARO A IHOA (In the presence of Grace)
Huhana Pene


He who studies medicine without books sails an uncharted sea, but he who studies medicine
without patients does not go to sea at all (Stamp, 2018).

When our ancestors traversed the great oceans, they were guided by celestial and terrestrial knowledge systems.   A connection to a higher power innate within them,  and living by the moon and stars in their day to day operations were standard practice.

Centuries later, we are re-learning those knowledge systems, and a connection to a higher source becomes something learnt from a book, a course or by mishap.  Nevertheless, it can appear to be a mystical process, connecting to divine wisdom and divine knowledge systems. 

"I mua I te aroaro a Ihoa" in the presence of Grace, explores my life story and in particular, having survived a near-death experience.  It is these experiences and learnings that encouraged me to reflect upon indigenous ways of understanding.  Thus, contributing to my own model of practice evidenced through my rangahau (research) of mild traumatic brain injury survivors.

It highlights the role whakamoemiti played in healing and recovery.

I present a part of my story “I mua I te aroaro a Ihoa, in the presence of Grace” that has influenced my model called “Te Aaka Manuao” as a universal self sustainable wellbeing tool.


Ngati Porou / Ngati Maniapoto
Te Iwi Morehu

Kaiako Taupuatanga o te Whanau (BAppCouns) for Te Pu Wananga o Anamata
Private Practitioner with He Tohu Counselling & Supervision, Rotorua