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"Addressing discrimination –there is 'double' discrimination such as disability, culture." Teacher

"[We need] access to the right support at the right time by the right people for our diverse Pacific children with diverse learning needs e.g. hearing, vision, intellectual, behaviour."

"Our fa'afafine are already part of our life, they're included the same as all our children.  Special needs are more vulnerable and unable to get support.  Some are seen as naughty and get punished by teachers, especially if our children don't speak English, rather than getting specialist support."

Are these important to you?

  • Some feedback they are too dreamy and high level
  • Need to address double discrimination – disability and culture.
  • Support for families is important 

Is there something missing? What would you change?

  • Access to the right support at the right time, including having more specialist teachers, teacher aides, youth workers etc. in schools
  • Wellbeing needs to be in everything
  • Sharing information at key transition points
  • Addressing the impact of poverty 


  • Are the current services, professionals, models, processes reflective of those they are working with? Are they culturally responsive?
  • Will screening checks before and at start of school target non-English speaking Pacific children?  And will there be Pacific speakers who are speech language therapists, psychologists, early intervention teachers, etc.?
  • “How do we overcome shame (whakama) by parents with special needs children, so that their children can get the support required??  I.e. these parents might not want their child to be diagnosed OR some parents don't understand what is special needs so don't understand the need for intervention or support.  How do we address this barrier?  Schools don't have time and resources to inform our parents with special needs children.”
  • How do we encourage parents with children with special needs to get support?

Most common indicators of success (in order)

  • Pacific learners and their families feel accepted and included
  • Pacific learners have the skills to succeed in the workforce
  • Education leaders do things to show they value Pacific cultures
  • Pacific learners and their families are free from racism and discrimination in education
  • Pacific learners and their families can access support for using, if needed
  • There are no financial barriers to accessing education for Pacific learners and their families
  • Pacific learners with disabilities can participate in and are included in the entire education system and extra-curricular activities

Wellington Learning Support Fono Summary [PDF]