Firstly, apologies you are getting two months of news this month for July and August, mainly as I was overseas in July at the Cook Islands Conference. So I thought we would catch up this month. 

There has been a lot happening, you will see some great insights from our stories from Lina Vei who looked after her parents and their health needs while also raising her own family. You can also read about Lavenia Kafoa who worked with her Whanau Ora Navigator to set out and achieve some of her family goals.

We also have celebrated 2 of our Employees of the Month in Pusi Sa (July 2019) and Abdul Ali (August 2019) both wonderful workers showing what they enjoy in their work as well as their personal lives as well. We are very proud of the excellent work they continue to do.

In July 2019, I was fortunate to attend the 21st Cook Islands Health Conference in Rarotonga and Aitutaki. The theme was Smokefree Cook Islands by 2025 a pretty challenging goal for that country, but I understand other Pacific countries are also trying to complete this goal as well.  

There were many presenters and presentations at the conference including the Director-General of the Ministry of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Waitemata DHB CEO Dr Dale Bramley.  We also had Dr John Dunn who presented on reducing weight and the challenges of Obesity in our modern society. While he was there, along with other specialist surgeons, they completed the very first Bariatric surgery in the Pacific.

Dr John Dunn suggests that the only proactive way to reduce our obesity and weight problems was to reduce our portion size in our meals and of course, the obvious sugary and salty diets where possible. To that end, the Cook Islands conference implemented a bread size plate portions to our kaikai. It was actually quite a good practice and we would like to introduce this next year in our own programmes.

One of the other issues that came up at the conference was the ageing population of the Cook Islands, as well as not many services available to support this ageing population. My presentation on Pacific Homecare’s workforce and services really reinforced a need to scope out a similar service in the Cook Islands.  So we will see what we can do to assist the Ministry of Health in the Cook Islands to scope out such a service and possible options for their context.

During August we celebrated the Cook Islands Language Week theme “Taku Rama, taua toi ora Te Reo” with our Cook Islands Metua Pakari and Fia Ola groups. As I am writing we are moving towards the Tongan language week theme “Fakakoloa ‘O Aotearoa ‘Ake ‘A E Tauhi Fonua” (A Tongan perspective of enriching Aotearoa, New Zealand).

Also, in August, I was able to farewell a colleague from Fonua Ola Trust, Fiu Anae Wesley Talaimanu who served as Chief Executive. I welcomed him again as the new Director of Partnerships for Pasifika Futures Ltd which is our whanau ora commissioning agency and who put on a really inclusive Tongan Ava ceremony. We wish you the best Wesley.  

So as we celebrate the richness of our languages and our cultures, let us continue to look after each other as we continue to serve our families and our communities. Remember always to look out for others who may be lonely or isolated, there is always time for a cup of tea 

Meitaki maata, Malo Aupito, Faafetai lava

Hamish Crooks
Chief Executive

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