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"We would love a Pacific Island liaison person.  Someone who can give us the answers we need - or help us when communicating with family."

"We like the Pacific Island language weeks - for some families it's the only time they feel acknowledged.  We need to make sure it isn't tokenism."

Are these areas important to you?

  • Overall the areas were important to most of the groups and community present. They supported a focus on racism and discrimination, partnering with families, Pacific languages and growing Pacific teachers
  • The areas were important to the Oamaru youth group
  • The areas were important to the Tuvalu language group and the Tongan language group
  • The Tongan language group were concerned particularly with racism and discrimination experiences and others recognise that being free from racism means Pacific students would feel ‘more comfortable to learn’. 

Is there something missing? What would you change about these areas?

  • Feedback from the communities in general was in favour of a Pacific liaison person
  • Support for mental health
  • Want more consideration of building cultural competency and cultural training for teachers
  • Interested in a Pacific Parents Association
  • A focus on leadership
  • The Tongan community wanted more of a focus on wellbeing, opportunities for tertiary study in Oamaru and more support, including free courses, community support workers and social worker support.
  • The Tongan language group wanted teachers to change their approach when engaging with Tongan families and are concerned about the immigration restrictions on Pacific students studying further.
  • Paid community support workers for after school programmes
  • The Tongan language group would like to see a facilitator or negotiator role to go between schools and parents, more Pacific teacher aides, scholarships and support for students with disabilities
  • Want to see specific actions from the Ministry for the Oamaru communities
  • Want to see cultural training for teachers and learning opportunities, i.e. opportunities to learn Pacific languages
  • How to involve parents more- opportunities for families to help but noting that families are also working and busy
  • Have workshops that build understanding and relationships to end racism
  • The Tongan language group want to see translators to help at parent interviews/school events 

What other questions do you have?

  • Why is there a focus on Polynesian kids- from a Polynesian youth
  • Can we find Pacific tutors who have expert knowledge?
  • How will we upskill teachers/educators to do our best for our Pacific Island children?
  • Does kiwi slang catch out our Pacific families?  Some children actually have pretty good English but educators use slang/idioms that children don't understand.
  • How are we going to achieve these changes? How do we make sure focusing on these give areas has a positive effect on our lives?
  • What are the chances anything will actually happen?
  • Will you educate parents by showing them there are many more options than going to university?
  • Are there any educational opportunities for students who recent migrants from Tonga?
  • Is there any follow-up after this talanoa for these points to be implemented to support my children?

Most common indicators of success (in order)

  • Pacific families feel confident supporting their children in education
  • Pacific learners and their families feel accepted and included
  • Pacific learners and their families are free from racism and discrimination in education
  • Pacific learners’ faith and belies and culture are in education
  • Pacific learners have the skills to succeed in the workforce
  • Pacific learners can learn in their language through their education
  • There are no financial barriers to accessing education for Pacific learners and their families

Oamaru Fono Summary [PDF]