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Asian Wellbeing Foundation


NEWS RELEASE

8 May 2001

ASIAN WELLBEING FOUNDATION

Auckland’s first Chinese Health and Social Services Expo will be held on Saturday, May 19 at the ASB Stadium in St Heliers.

The expo is being co-ordinated by the Auckland Chinese Medical Association and the Chinese Social Worker Group of the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers.

More than 40 central and local government agencies and Chinese-speaking health and social service agencies will showcase their services. There will also be a number of seminars in both Cantonese and Mandarin on topics ranging from home security to men’s health.

The expo will help consolidate the network of health and social workers who are dedicated to culturally appropriate services. And it will assist the Chinese-speaking communities to fully enjoy living in New Zealand.

A survey will also be conducted among participants to identify the gaps in the services currently being provided.

Pansy Wong, chairperson of the Asian Wellbeing Foundation, says: “2001 is the year to stage a comprehensive, non-profit Chinese health and social service expo.”

Expo organiser Marian Ngai says: “I hope this expo will help different agencies realise the importance of offering culturally appropriate services.”

The number of Asians migrating to New Zealand, and to Auckland in particular, continues to grow. For a long time, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China have been the top sources of migrants. According to the 1996 census, there are around 82,000 ethnic Chinese nationwide and 50,283 in the greater Auckland region.


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“The presence of migrants who are not from English-speaking countries leads to a different dynamic among our social services. New Zealand’s health and social service systems are among the best in the world and are part of the reason why people choose to come to settle in New Zealand,” says Eric Cheung, a migrant from Hong Kong.

However, it seems that some new New Zealanders are not able to enjoy the services which all New Zealanders are entitled to. While some agencies are slowly recognising the needs of the Chinese-speaking communities, the current level of culturally appropriate services is clearly not enough.

This frustration has been identified from research among migrant groups. The research also points to the need to deliver more information to the communities.

“My association with the Asian communities in Auckland has led me to observe that with the growing number and diversity of the communities, there is an increasing need for access to health and social services. The strain of integrating into a new society, gaining employment, educating children and providing health care for the elderly are all issues that impact on both the physical and mental wellbeing of these communities,” says Pansy Wong.

Chinese migrants are active in seeking out information about their new homeland. In 1997, a Chinese legal expo attracted more than 10,000 people, while in 1998, a half-day Chinese health expo attracted more than 4000 people. This level of participation clearly shows that demand for local information is high.

On both occasions, bilingual information booklets and lists of common terminology were distributed to attendees and were a great success. At the Expo, a Health and Social Services Directory, a list of Chinese speaking doctors of ACMA, a Handbook of Asthma and Allergy services, and a Handbook of Health Issues (new edition) will be available. Each of the booklets is in Chinese and is free.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:
- Marian Ngai, expo organiser, tel: 486 8314.

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