PSA Pasefika is a network to encourage the involvement of Pacific Island peoples in union activities and decisions.
Talofa lava, Malo e lelei, Ni Sa Bula Vinaka, Namaste, Kia Orana, Taloha ni, Ia Orana, Fakaalofa lahi atu, 'Alii, Malo Ni, Halo Olaketa, Mauri, Aloha mai e and Warm Pacific Greetings
Our Mission Statement:
To Develop, Strengthen and Influence Tangata Pasefika to champion our interests and celebrate our successes
The PSA Pasefika network was originally formed in 2005.
In 2019 we have a membership of 1,965 Pacific members who choose to belong to the network. Our members come from all over the Pacific and identify from the islands of: Fiji, Hawaii, Kiribati, Kuki Airani, Niue, Rotuma, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Uvea.There is an estimated 6,000 PSA members who identify as Pacific, and 258 delegates (15 of which are national delegates).
If you identify as a Pacific member and want to belong to the network, then you need to go into your membership details and join the network, or you can ring 0508 367 772 and someone can assist you from our organising centre.
The majority of members are based in Auckland followed by Wellington, with scatterings of other members throughout Aotearoa/NZ.
Many long centuries ago our Pasefika ancestors migrated across and settled many islands and atolls contained within the largest water mass in the world, the Pacific Ocean. They traveled for thousands of kilometres discovering places near & far using and navigating using the stars, the moon, sea currents & tides, birds and ocean life to assist them.
"N.I.U FRONTIERS” tracks our journey as a network engaging with our members, the wider PSA network , our communities and to some degree will be a continuum of the curiosities, desires and risks our ancestors took when delving into the unknown.
N.I.U is an acronym of the following:
Now, New, Native, Network;
Indigenous, Innovative, Inspirational, Investment;
United, Universal & Understanding.
"N.I.U” provides life, sustenance, spiritual , forward and future thinking.
"FRONTIERS” evokes the realities of our people taking charge of our own steps/pathways going forward into the future. This would involve our people at the forefront raising the issues which are important to us & also in the background providing support. Our people would more importantly be at the helm of every “NIU Frontier” undertaken from all avenues ie. Operational and governance.
PSA Pasefika Network Working Party
Since August 2018 a small but dedicated working group has been working on behalf of the Pacific members from designing principles based on the PSA Rūnanga’s Ngā Kaupapa principles, Gender Pay Principles from a Pacific lens, future structure of the PSA Pasefika network, revitalising the Mission Statement and Intent and developing activities and initiatives that will ensure our Pacific members are engaging in our network. The working group is comprised of some hard-working dedicated workplace delegate volunteers who are primarily based in Auckland and Wellington. This work is normally carried once a month on a Saturday and the commitment from these delegates is immeasurable for the work that has been produced today on behalf of Pacific workers in the PSA and ensuring we have a presence and voice in the PSA.
We acknowledge all PSA Pasefika network members who were there from the very start in 2005 and are still here today. We also welcome new members and look forward to meeting everyone soon.
PSA Organiser’s: Duane Leo (Auckland) and Stella Teariki (Wellington) provide support and guidance for the network. We would like to thank them for their continual involvement.
We want to thank previous working party members for their contributions in the last 14 months: Lisah Hoponia-Pikula (Ministry of Social Development), Magele Maria Uluilelata (Statistics NZ), Malavai P-Misikei (Oranga Tamariki), Ofeina Manuel-Barbarich (Department of Internal Affairs), Poema Pekepo-Ford (Ministry of Social Development) and Tea Ngatama (Ministry of Social Development).
Current PSA Pasefika working party members are:
- Brian Palalagi (Co-Convenor, NZ Transport Agency)
- Ulualofaiga Mareko (Co-Convenor, Ministry of Justice)
- Timena Kiria (Oranga Tamariki), Jennifer Laulala (Ministry of Justice)
- Kahu Lousiale-Tahaafe (Department of Internal Affairs)
- Ᾱpeāfῡsia Katalina Semisi (Ministry of Social Development)
- Alice Meredith (Auckland City Council)
- Myles Hunkin (Health Alliance)
- Nia Bartley (Capital Coast District Health Board)
- Talanoa Manu (Waitemata District Health Board)
- Tania Siwatibau (Ministry of Health)
Other Network/Sector Involvement
PSA Women's Network
It is always pleasing to have our Pacific members become more involved in the PSA structures. For the PSA Women’s Network, PSA Pasefika have Kahu Lousiale-Tahaafe as their voice and representative to ensure there is the mandate from our network and therefore the Pacific voice in this forum. Other strong Pacific women include Jennifer Laulala who has recently become the Women’s network Co-Convenor for all women across the PSA and is also involved in the NZCTU Women’s Council, we also have Nia Bartley who is in the Women’s Network advocating on behalf of women from the District Health Boards. Great to see the growth of Pacific voices in this forum.
PSA Youth Network
Ulualofaiga Mareko has been elected as the Wellington Regional Youth Convenor.
PSA Eco Network
Ᾱpeāfῡsia Katalina Semisi and Tania Siwatibau have been endorsed as the PSA Pasefika representatives in the PSA Eco network. Nia Bartley is also part of the Eco network as a representative from the Women’s committee. Great to see such a fantastic Pacific presence at the Eco day of action.
NZ Council of Trade Unions
In July 2019 at the NZCTU Biennial Women’s Conference, PSA Organiser Stella Teariki received an award at the biennial for her outstanding service to union women. The other Pacific women recognised was our previous PSA Pasefika Convenor Lealamanu’a Caroline Mareko for her outstanding service to union women.
Pacific Enterprise National Delegates
Kahu Lousiale-Tahaafe is the Pacific Enterprise National Delegate for the Department of Internal Affairs.
Timena Kiria is the Pacific Enterprise National Delegate for Oranga Tamariki.
Leah Rees has just been elected to the Pacific Enterprise National Delegate role for MBIE.
Kahu Lousiale-Tahaafe is on the Public Service Sector Committee. Kahu will be responsible for not only reporting on union matters from Department of Internal Affairs she will need to liaise with delegates from Parliamentary Service, Office of the Clerk, Parliamentary Counsel, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Controller and Auditor General, State Services Commission and Treasury as they are all part of a cluster with Department of Internal Affairs being the biggest cluster.
Ulualofaiga Mareko is on the Public Service Sector Committee representing Ministry of Justice.
Nia Bartley has been elected on to the District Health Board Sector Committee and represents the Nga Tai Kokiri (Area 3) Region.
SSC Mentoring program
Ᾱpeāfῡsia Katalina Semisi and Jennifer Laulala have been accepted into the State Services Sector Commission mentoring programme.
We are pleased to have another Pacific Island staff member join the PSA. Sio Kasipale has just been appointed to an organiser role in Auckland. Sio comes to the PSA with extensive union knowledge and highly engaged with other Pacific Komiti’s across the union movement. Our network is pleased to have the extra resource come on board to assist us with our work program.
Porirua City Council, Manager Public Outreach and Education, Pataka
How many languages do you speak, and what are they? English, Hawaiian, Hawaiian Pidgin and I speak 'food'.
Why did you join the union? My mother worked for a union in Hawai’i for many years. Since I was young, I saw how collective power in the workforce can shape businesses, commerce, and families.
Would you consider being a delegate? Sure, happy to offer my expertise where I can.
What skills / attributes would you say are required to be a delegate? Good listener, Cool under pressure and be able to lead with integrity.
What would be the achievements at the moment or any pressing issues of your workplace? Councillors have recently agreed to pay staff the Living Wage - that is cool. The council is there to serve our customers especially to get infrastructure in place but this is difficult when with a population of 54,000 in the region, only 18,000 pay rates. Porirua rate payers are amongst the highest rate payers in the country.
Do you think being Pacific would make a difference as a delegate? Absolutely. Representation is important.
What is your favourite kiwi dish and drink? Fish and chips and lemon/lime and bitters or milky white tea (Dilmah brand).
What is your favourite island dish and drink? Laulau (taro leaves filled with pork, beef, fish and bundled together) AND the quintessential Hawaiian drink 'Passionfruit Orange and Guava' juice)
How many Pacific islands have you visited and which was your favourite? 8; Hawai’i, Lana’i, Maui, Kaho'olawe, O’ahu, New Caledonia, North and South Islands (of Aotearoa/NZ); Te Ika a Maui (North Is).
Any unique or interesting talents you wish to share? Lomilomi Practitioner (Hawaiian Massage)
What do you enjoy about the PSA Pasefika network? Like that there are Pacific people who see the value of unions. We're stronger together.
How could it improve? Diversify
Any advice for current or future PSA Pasefika network members? Don’t step in to represent ALL 20,000+ islands in the Pacific, let alone the individual communities in them.
Advice for non-Pasefika PSA members about our network? Kāko’o – support.
Favourite karaoke song? I believe in the thing called love - The Darkness and Alone - Heart.
Final words of inspiration? If you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else (Toni Morrison).
MERCY BROWN (Delegate)
Capital and Coast District Health Board, Pasefika Health Advisor
Why did you join the union? In 1987 I worked for the District Courts. I joined the PSA and became the PSA Convenor. I received a lot of training then and worked closely with the PSA organiser. I had a break and moved out of Wellington and worked with the Ministry of Education. When I returned to Wellington to take on a job with Mental Health, I took on the role of a PSA delegate and was also part of the Komiti Pasifika. I participated in marches to parliament and admired the noises that the cleaners would make during those marches.
What skills / attributes would you say are required to be a delegate? I guess anyone can be a delegate if they wish. I think commitment, honesty and a passion to empower members with training provided to do the role will be sufficient. I also think being a delegate means that person is able to speak up and is not afraid to raise issues with management
Do you think being Pacific would make a difference as a delegate? Yes. There are times when a Pacific member may need a Pacific PSA delegate for support and even query some of the jargon or even the agreement. I see my role as encouraging our Pacific people to seek help early and not to be afraid to raise issues. We are good workers that’s for sure!
What is your favourite kiwi dish and drink? Crayfish, kina, oysters, mussels and paua, cranberry juice, English tea, glass of Pinot Noir.
What is your favourite island dish and drink? Island dish: sua i’a with taro and palusami (fish with coconut cream and taro leaves) Drink: koko Samoa (real Samoan cocoa).
Any unique or interesting talents you wish to share? I am a Toastmaster therefore I am good at public speaking and organizing events. I have run workshops around Toastmasters. I facilitate “Incredible years parenting programmes”. I am a member of WOF Crossfit in Porirua. I like walking and hiking. Most of all I love family time and spending time with my grandchildren.
What do you enjoy about the PSA Pasefika network? It is good to see the younger ones coming through. They are our future voices!
How could it improve? I think encouraging new ones to come through is very important for the survival of the Komiti and its members. I wonder what will it look like if PSA Pasifika invest in a cultural Matua? Our unique Pacific culture is important and our values as union members are also important. Maybe have different representatives from different islands on the network and from different government agencies.
Any advice for current or future PSA Pasefika members? To be supportive of each other. Empower our people to participate and to speak up against bullying and speak out about our rights as union members andemployees or to speak up about pay issues etc.
Final words of inspiration? Being a delegate gave me the confidence to speak up. I learned a great deal from attending training, workshops and conventions. I met many delegates who share the same values of being in the union and what the union stands for. I have been supported by many and have learned from members who have shared their journey through being a delegate.
Pasefika in Pictures
Click on the links below to find out more about the Pasefika network:
Auckland - May 13th
Hamilton - May 14th
Wellington - May 15th
Christchurch - May 18
ITUC Asia Pacific Workshop: Pacific organisers speak of challenges and triumphs
By PSA Pasefika Network Organiser and New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Komiti Pasefika representative, Stella Teariki
Union organisers from the Pacific have spoken about the challenges some face while trying to improve conditions for workers in their countries.
The organisers from Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Australia, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands were attending the International Trade Union Confederation-Asia Pacific workshop in Nadi in November 2019.
In countries like Fiji organising workers can be dangerous. We had the pleasure of having Felix Anthony and Kuini Luata join the workshop. Both strong union advocates, Felix was arrested on May Day in 2019 for his union activity. The environment our comrades work and live in, in Fiji contrasts with how we can organise in New Zealand. While the government in Fiji is supposed to work with employers and unions in a tri-partite arrangement, delegates from Fiji believe unions are excluded from discussions which have an impact on workers.
The most recent example of this was Family Care Leave and Parental Leave. This was clearly a worker’s issue but the unions were kept out of the discussions and announcements were made for it to be implemented from January last year. The unions believe this was a big sweetener for the working class to vote in favour of the current government.
SUCCESS IN SAMOA
But the workshop also celebrated some achievements. The raising of the minimum wage in Samoa is a big success for the likes of Samoa First. They should be congratulated for that work and the support they received from First Union. I attended the conference as the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Komiti Pasefika representative. My presentation focussed on the PSA’s work to close the gender pay gap in the public service. As part of this we want Pasefika public service workers to be free from gender biased inequalities so they can achieve their full potential, regardless of gender AND ethnicity.
The wins include pay principles developed by PSA Pasefika from a Pacific lens, building structures with Pacific National Delegates in Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Oranga Tamariki, engagement in workplace action plans and inclusive and diversity plans, and closing the gender pay gap in 2020. I also spoke about our Government’s goal of closing the gender and ethnic pay gaps. Other participants also presented examples of the work they do to enhance the lives of Pacific workers. This includes negotiating to improve pay, conditions and leave provisions, and building union density in the private and public sectors.