When times are tough, Haitelenisia Laungaue, or Sia as she is called, thinks of her mother, Alisi. Originally from Kolomotu’a in Tonga, Alisi arrived in NZ as a young solo mother with three children, a rarity for Pacific mothers in the early 1980s.

“She came to New Zealand for a better life in New Zealand,” says Sia.

“It was tough for her in Tonga, so when she came to New Zealand, she knew it would be better for us kids. She got a job in a factory and made sure we were looked after, made our lunches every day and sent spare money back to the family in Tonga.”

Alisi died in 1996, but her selflessness still provides the drive for Sia’s own job as a Support Worker for Pacific Homecare, whose motto is Love, Care and Professionalism.

“I really miss my Mum. She was a good person who helped me a lot with my own kids and taught me to treat people like you want to be treated yourself,” says Sia.

“I try to think what it would be like to walk in my clients’ shoes, to understand them better so I can help them the best way I can. That’s what I love about my job.”

Sia, who has nine children, aged from 11 to 28, always wanted to be a nurse, but struggled at school.

When she heard about the role of a Support Worker, she knew it would be perfect for her.

Working at Pacific Homecare has meant a return to studies as she gains the qualifications now needed to become a Supporter Worker. Sia is thriving, having passed her Level 2 studies – she is now studying for Level 3.

She says she’s very busy, having had up to 50 patients in her time with the organisation. She can’t imagine wanting to do anything else.

“I love the variety and love looking after people from all different cultures from around the world … and I like to hear their stories. That’s exactly what Mum would have done,” says Sia, with a tear in her eye.

“That’s why being chosen for this award as Employee of the Month is special … because I know she’ll be so proud.”

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