A Timaru-based Pasifika social service provider launched its Oamaru branch, as well as its anti-bullying project, at the Orwell Street Church on Friday.
A crowd of more than 60 people from around the community, including leaders from local organisations, the police and school principals, attended the Fale Pasifika O Aoraki opening.
Oamaru project worker Beni Latavao, who took up the role in June, said the opening went well and helped to create awareness about the group and project within the community.
“I was really happy with the turnout. It was really good to see quite a few schools and organisational leaders turn up.
“I was very happy and thankful that the leaders of our community took the time.
“It showed their support for the Pacific community and for diversity.”
With a growing Pasifika population in Oamaru, the organisation felt the town would benefit from having a branch here, he said.
“It encourages the wider Pacific community to be involved.
“It’s quite a significant step forward.”
Fale Pasifika O Aoraki manager Ofa Boyle, who is based in Timaru, said the anti-bullying project was about prevention and education because often behaviour which was acceptable in Pasifika communities was not as acceptable here.
“I think it is exciting for me to have it here because of the Pacific community.
“We’re trying to educate our Pacific parents in a positive way.”
The anti-bullying project, called Fale Pasifika O Aoraki’s Anti-Bullying Stars, will have workshops in schools and those who have completed the programme will be recognised as “stars”.
Fale Pasifika O Aoraki’s Oamaru branch is located at the CCS Disability building on Thames St. Phone 437 9023.
By RUBY HARFIELD
PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD
ANTI-BULLY STARS: Fale Pasifika O Aoraki Oamaru project worker Beni Latavao and manager Ofa Boyle at the opening of the Anti-Bullying Project.