On the Job

As the first Pasefika person to become a mental health nurse practitioner, Makoni Havea is determined to make a difference for her community.

“I can help with mental and physical health problems. I want to provide a service where they don’t need to see lots of people.

In her role the PSA member undertakes comprehensive assessments, diagnosis and prescriptions.

The holistic care she provides can be seen in the assistance she gave to a patient who was running out of medication but struggling to get an appointment with a doctor.

“I was able to consult with the GP over the phone and provide a script so they didn’t have to wait for another appointment and pay another fee.”


Working at Counties Manukau DHB Child & Adolescent Community Mental Health, Makoni sees a huge need for mental health services in Pasefika communities.

She says she has experienced some of the stresses in her own life that are affecting the mental health and well-being of Pasefika people.

“We immigrated when I was a teenager. We were raised by my Dad and extended family, living in overcrowded housing.”

But Makoni says mental health is often an unspoken issue for Pasefika people.

“It’s tapu in some families to talk about mental health. It is challenging to speak with them but I say you can get help, you don’t need to feel ashamed. It is ok to talk about these things.”

However, Makoni also felt a sense of tapu about telling her family she was working in mental health as it was not a subject that was discussed growing up in Tonga.


It was a “difficult journey” for Makoni to complete the advanced training to become a mental health nurse practitioner while working full-time over four years.

“I lost count of the number of times I gave up. It was a huge commitment to work, study, church, family and being a mother to my daughter.

“But now I feel empowered to know I can do anything. I hope my story will inspire more Pasefika people to go down this path.”

And after losing a family member to suicide several years ago, it’s rewarding to be able to give something back and help others.

“You work with someone in crisis and see them recover and get discharged. You see the successes.”

Also in this issue:

‘We thank you for your brave stand’

PSA members and local communities joined forces in February to protest restructuring that threatened hundreds of jobs and quality client care.

While the restructuring by HealthCare NZ is now set to go ahead the protests have thrown a spotlight on issues besetting the home care and support sector.

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“Remember the loss but also remember the hope”

As we mark the anniversary of the Christchurch attacks the PSA has added its voice to a call for peace from the city’s Muslim community.

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Leading the charge on contractor rights

Our union is leading the charge to strengthen rights for contractors and labour hire workers in public and community services.

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Make it Real

Thousands of admin workers in the Public Service are asking to be paid what they’re worth with the launch of their pay equity claim.

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Mana Wahine Claim goes to Waitangi

The Mana Wahine team was up before dawn on Waitangi Day erecting our stall at the famous Treaty Grounds.

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Opportunities and issues with new bill

We’ve been making our voices heard on the new Public Service Legislation Bill with submissions from the PSA, Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina, network and delegate committees and individual members.

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"We have come too far to not go further"

‘Tawhiti rawa i tō tatou haerenga atu te kore haere tonu’ - Sir James Henare

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We Count

The results of a survey of rainbow public servants suggest a significant proportion still don’t feel comfortable being out in their workplaces.

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The PSA’s greatest victory?

Former PSA staffer Noel O’Hare explains why he wrote Tooth & Veil, a history of school dental nurses and the day they stormed the corridors of power.

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Maranga Mai

A groundbreaking course is empowering Māori delegates and contributing to a surge in Māori membership across the PSA.

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Pacific organisers speak of challenges and triumphs

Union organisers from the Pacific have spoken about the challenges some face while trying to improve conditions for workers in their countries.

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Climate Talk

Nā Alex Johnston, Oxfam New Zealand campaigns coordinator and PSA EcoNetwork member

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Holiday Home Snaps

Thanks to all our members who entered our PSA Holiday Home Photo Competition over the summer.

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The Marlene Pitman Award

Nominations are now being sought for the Marlene Pitman award.

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Radio NZ

In early February, RNZ announced its new music strategy which included a proposal to axe over 18 of our members’ jobs and move the station to AM radio.

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New CTU Secretary Looks to the Future

The new CTU Secretary Melissa Ansell-Bridges was drawn to the union movement when a job as industrial officer and organiser at Equity New Zealand caught her attention.

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Leading the Way

PSA member Pam Maha had never been fully aware of family violence before she joined the Ministry of Justice twenty years ago.

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Te Reo o te Tari

Why not try out some of these simple phrases in the workplace?

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President's Message March 2020

He waka eke noa – We are all in this together

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