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Pasifika networking event in Tauranga

The event is taking place at the University of Waikato Tauranga campus. File photo.

The Pasifika Network Waiariki is kicking off the Inaugural Pasifika Networking Fono today at Te Manawaroa - University of Waikato Tauranga.

The purpose of the Networking Fono is to bring together and connect Pasifika people, leaders and organisations with an interest in engaging Pasifika communities.

Bay of Plenty Public Service lead and director of education Ezra Schuster says they’re looking forward to connecting Pasifika movers and shakers from across the region and all of the sectors for the first time.

“The Bay of Plenty is an exceptionally diverse region - geographically, socially and culturally.

“While the Pacific population across the Bay is smaller compared to the main centres like Auckland, Wellington and Hamilton, the challenges our communities face are the same - it’s just that the scale is smaller but the issues are the same.”

Ezra says the Pasifika providers in the region punch above their weight in delivering services and supporting communities, but they tend to do it in isolation from each other.

“That’s not a fault of anyone, it’s just how it’s formed over the years. And aside from our providers we also have outstanding Pasifika leaders across the sectors and so this is an opportunity to bring our people together to connect and grow our capability - this is what this network is all about and who knows what we can do if we work together and support each other.”

The Pasifika Network Waiariki is a new collective made up of Pasifika providers from across the Bay of Plenty region including AvaNiu Pasifika, Pacific Island Community (Tauranga) Trust, Rotorua Pacific Islands Development Charitable Trust, Pasifika in the Bay Trust and senior Pasifika leaders from the Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Bay of Plenty Rugby Union and Central Government.

The plan is to stage three Fono in 2021 with the first one sponsored by the University of Waikato.

Ezra says that “we couldn’t think of a better host to sponsor our inaugural Fono, a place of learning with a history of supporting Pasifika success”.

The event takes place this evening, from 5.30 - 7.30pm at the University of Waikato Tauranga campus on Durham Street with dress code for the gathering Pacific.

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