K’aute Pasifika Village opens in Hamilton



K’aute Pasifika Team and Whanau are all smiles at the opening ceremony after all the hard work (Photo supplied)

Praneeta Mahajan

Hamilton, January 18, 2023

Over 1500 people from across Aotearoa and the broader Pacific Region gathered to celebrate the momentous opening of the first stage of K’aute Pasifika’s Village, in Hamilton.

The first of its kind in New Zealand, the Village will provide Pasifika-focused holistic, wraparound services including an early learning centre, integrated wellbeing services and an iconic fale (meeting house) for community and cultural events.

Tokoroa High School students perform at the opening ceremony ( Photo supplied)

Waikato has a growing Pacific population of almost 25,000. And to have a facility dedicated to the pacific community has been seen welcomed by the people of Hamilton who have waited to see it take shape over the past few years.

Leaupepe Rachel Karalus, CEO of K’aute Pasifika Trust, acknowledged that it had been a long journey and it was indeed humbling to see the dream come to fruition.

She said “The Village is the physical manifestation of a community aspiration conceived 24 plus years ago by Pacific communities in Hamilton. It is a grassroots initiative that delivers on the voices and aspirations of the pacific community. We acknowledge the tenacity and resilience of past and present board members, staff, supporters and everyone involved that has helped bring the vision of the Village to life.”

The Village will provide existing services that span across the wellbeing domains (health and wellbeing, education, employment, and housing) and will include new integrated GP and other clinical services.

Opening ceremony hosted at the Fale (Photo supplied)

Ms Karalus says the driver is to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for Pacific and broader communities. She said “The opening is a significant milestone for our organisation and community. A time to reflect on the journey, remember our supporters and voices that are not with us today, and be grateful. It is another step in a broader vision of supporting Pacific aspiration and contribution to our Waikato Region. We know we must achieve equity in the services we offer our communities, before continuing to strive for the excellence in our services to transform our future.”

Positioned in the heart of Hamilton on the West town green belt, the Village has been supported by Hamilton City Council who approved leasing of the site to K’aute Pasifika. A fully funded project which included support from Kanoa, Trust Waikato, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development, Department of Internal Affairs, Wel Energy Trust and Len Reynolds Trust.

Chair of K’aute Pasifika Trust, Namalau’ulu Lale Ieremia said it is a project delivered through partnership, relationships and a shared vision of a Village for all, focused on Pacific models and practices.

He said “This is a development which was delivered by our community with central government, local government, philanthropic funders, and business and is reflective of an attitude that if we move together, it might take a little longer, but we will travel a lot further.”

Fale style structure is now open for community (INL Image)

Plans are underway for the support and development of similar Villages and Pacific housing solutions in the region.

Those who attended the opening event included Tourism minster Stuart Nash, Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio, Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate, Hamilton City Councillor Kesh Naidoo Rauf among others.

The village is now looking forward to an ‘extended’ inauguration celebrations with many HSBC Seven’s teams from the Pacific by hosting the captain’s photo on Wednesday 18 January 2023. They will also be hosting our Pacific Teams from Fiji, Papua, New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga on Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th 2023 along with a series of community events celebrating New Zealand’s Pacific cultures before the tournament.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink correspondent based in Hamilton.

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