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Pacific Island Leadership

Porirua City Pacific Island churches will distribute a Pacific language version of the petition to support Kenepuru hospital.

Porirua City Deputy Mayor Jasmine Underhill, who is a Pacific Islander, says she strongly backs the petition, and she calls on all the Pacific communities to work together to collect signatures.

"It is time the Capital & Coast health listened to the Pacific Island community. We support Robert's (Shaw) petition because it is what we have been saying for a long time. Health has been one of my major issues since I became a member of the council" Councillor Underhill said.

Petition organisers, Wellington Regional Councillors Robert Shaw (Porirua) and Chris Turver (Kapiti), approved the translation of the petition into the Samoan language.

Mr Shaw and Mr Turver are both standing for the Health Board to focus public attention on the inequity of Capital & Coast Health's plan to downgrade Kenepuru.

Councillor Shaw said he was delighted to have the support of the Pacific Island community and wanted to thank the church ministers and other community leaders who have come forward to assist.

"We have received great support from Maori organizations already. We are a diverse community in Porirua City, but we stand together on many issues" he said

The Samoan language version of the petition is being sent to over 25 churches for distribution on Sunday and Councillor Shaw asked Pacific Island advocate Litea Ah Hoy to collect the forms from the Samoan community.

Mrs Ah Hoy, a Samoan candidate for the Porirua City Council, paid tribute to the work of Councillor Underhill who is a Cook Islander, and said all Pacific Islanders were united in their support of Kenepuru hospital. "We want them to develop our hospital to something as good as Hutt hospital" she said.

Councillor Turver said it was clear from the reports presented to the Wellington Regional Council that it is beyond the resources of many Porirua people to travel to Newtown to visit relatives in hospital or even to take sick children to hospital.

"The health board appears arrogant in its attitude towards Pacific Islanders. They refuse to accept that the community could know best. They react to the needs of some Newtown doctors and managers and not to the needs of the patients. The health board may at long last get the message, because of the work of Pacific Island community leaders" Councillor Shaw added.


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