Plunket research into improving its services for Pacific families

Pacific families from Auckland, Wellington and Whanganui have taken part in new research to help Plunket improve its services for the Pacific community.

Eighty-four families from 9 Pacific ethnicities took part in 12 focus groups with Plunket, sharing their stories and experiences and giving their suggestions for how Plunket could work differently to better meet their needs. Seven key people from Plunket and external agencies with expertise in working with Pacific clients were also interviewed for the research. Titled Improving Support for Pacific Families in New Zealand, the findings of the research are being shared with participants today (11 March) in Auckland, where Plunket is also announcing the launch of its new Pacific Advisory Panel, one of the key recommendations from the findings.

“The event today is to thank families for sharing their experiences with us, to let them know about the result of their participation in the research and how this will help us take the next step in our journey to improve our services for Pacific families. The richness of their stories and experiences gave us important insights, and today’s event is important to complete the cultural process we undertook. We’re delighted to invite families here today to help us celebrate,”said Plunket’s National Advisor for Pacific People Tautala Faletolu.

She said that the research was commissioned as Plunket felt it could do more to support Pacific families: “We wanted to find out if we could improve our engagement with Pacific families, and to do more towards improving health outcomes and reducing the disparities in children’s health.”

Through the research, many families expressed the importance of Plunket people developing and maintaining a respectful relationship with families, using clear and easily understood language, and developing a positive relationship with the whole family. Key recommendations included learning and development strategies to train and support Plunket staff to engage with Pacific clients and respect cultural practices. Another key concept is to improve Pacific communities’ knowledge about Plunket services while working in partnership with other agencies.

A Wellington event was held earlier in the month and Junior So’o was among the research participants attending: “I enjoyed partaking in and am happy to support this research. The key thing for me is that there is a positive outcome for Pacific families. It is massive that Plunket is changing the way they operate to benefit Pacific people. It would be awesome to see other organisations adapt as Plunket is to meet the needs of the Pacific community.”

Plunket has already started acting on the findings, and welcomed its new Pacific Advisory Group, which will provide advice to Plunket on best practice service delivery to Pacific families. The seven members of the Pacific Advisory Group are: Matafanua Hilda Faasalele, Rev Dr Tokerau Joseph Tracie Mafile’o, Segiali’I Kwain Auelua, Teremoana Hodges, Emily Toimata-Holtham and Le’alamanua Caroline Mareka.

“With the Plunket Pacific Advisory Group now formed we are able to focus on carrying out the remaining recommendations from the research, and provide consultation as we produce a four-year Pacific Strategic plan that will transform the connection Plunket has with the Pacific community,” Tautala said.

For more information contact:

Jen Riches | Plunket Media Manager 

About Plunket

For over a century Plunket has been giving families in New Zealand the support they need to nurture healthy, happy kiwi babies. 

Plunket is a not-for-profit organisation and is New Zealand’s largest provider of free services to support the health and development of children under five. 

Plunket is dedicated to working with parents and communities to ensure that New Zealand children get the best start in life. Plunket’s services help families nationwide, through over 300 branches, mobile clinics and a free phone service PlunketLine, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (0800 933 922).

Plunket services are available free to all families living in New Zealand with children aged 0 to 5. As registered nurses with a postgraduate qualification, Plunket nurses are able to offer high standards of expertise and a range of services to families.

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