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New activities offer youth growth and development

Media release
June 2014

PHAB Pasifika’s new activities offer growth and development for all youth

Celebrating diversity is a key focus of PHAB Pasifika, a unique youth organisation that works with young people of all abilities to encourage, cultivate, and celebrate self-development, diversity, and inclusion.

Part of The Cube, a youth-led development and disability support service, PHAB Pasifika has developed several new programmes for its participants. The organisation is based on principles of inclusion, integrity, and opportunity, with a focus on Pasifika youth.

The new initiatives encourage participants to push their boundaries, get active, and explore their heritage, through activities including a wheelchair basketball programme, mentoring coaching, and a cultural dance group.

PHAB Pasifika Cultural Performance Coordinator and Senior Youth Worker Briggitte Laumatia is leading the dance crew in a variety of disciplines, and hopes they will gain exposure in the process.

“People of differing abilities haven’t been so involved in mainstream cultural festivals previously, and we’re looking to change that,” Briggitte says. “Our young people are learning about the cultural significance of performance, and enjoy using dance and music as avenues to explore and express their own journeys.”

Recently, there have been more festivals catering to people of differing abilities. PHAB’s dance crew performed at the recent Pasifika festival, and are looking forward to performing a traditional Tongan dance routine and Maori waiata during July’s Matariki celebrations.

18-year old De La Salle College student Lawrence Apelu performs with the dance crew, and his attitude and enthusiasm has him pegged as a role model within the PHAB Pasifika community. “We’re learning a variety of difference dance styles, including traditional Tongan dance,” says Lawrence. “There’s always an atmosphere of fun and growth, and it’s really interesting learning about other cultures.”

PHAB Pasifika’s activities encompass many areas. The organisation is working with the Halberg Trust to deliver a six-week wheelchair basketball programme, after recognising the need for participants to get involved with sports. Wheelchair basketball offers an equal playing field for people of all abilities to be part of a team.

“Our relationship with the Halberg Trust is vital,” says PHAB Pasifika Operations Manager Paul Lavea. “It’s allowed us to share resources and utilise programmes on offer which encourage physical activities”.

While PHAB Pasifika is Pacific-focused, Paul Lavea is proud of the organisation’s commitment to diversity. “We do change and adapt to ensure young people from the Pacific community are always catered for, but we work with everyone,” he says. “We celebrate all cultures and we welcome people of all backgrounds and abilities.”

This attitude is shared by all those involved with PHAB Pasifika, creating an environment of development and growth that is open to all. “The core concept of PHAB Pasifika is inclusion,” says Lawrence. “I love getting to know new people from different backgrounds. Everyone has their own challenges to deal with, and PHAB Pasifika is great opportunity to see things through their eyes.”

If you’re interested in getting involved, contact the Papatoetoe office on (09) 278 7717

- Ends -

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