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Christchurch Pacific People Hard-hit but Resilient

Christchurch Pacific People Hard-hit but Resilient

Pacific people in Christchurch, while hard-hit by the February earthquake, are being well-supported in their efforts to recover, Pacific Island Affairs Minister Georgina te Heuheu says.

Mrs te Heuheu is today visiting some badly damaged sites in the eastern suburbs - home to many of the city's 12,000 Pacific people.

"I am interested to see how well services are being accessed," said Mrs te Heuheu.

"I will also be spending time at the Pacific hub, a one-stop shop for Pacific people needing information and help which the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs staff set up in Aranui," she said.

"This is not only a base for Ministry staff, whose own office is still uninhabitable, but for other partner agencies including the Department of Labour, New Zealand Police, Housing New Zealand Corporation, Pacific Business Trust, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, ACTIS (Aranui Community Trust), Vaka Tautua, Pacific Trust Canterbury, Pegasus Health, PACIFICA, Tagata Atumotu, Pacific Island Evaluation and the Salvation Army.

"This is a great focal point for Pacific people, the culmination of work done in the days and weeks immediately following the earthquake to ensure information about emergency help and assistance and support reaches Pacific communities."

Mrs te Heuheu said often Pacific people were reticent about asking for help, preferring to rely on their own family and Pacific community resources.

"However a disaster of this magnitude can stretch the resources of even the most generous communities. Help is available to all, whether from Government or from the myriad of other organisations which have pitched in to assist Christchurch people," Mrs te Heuheu said.

"It's important that everybody knows the help that is available, and is able to avail themselves of it. I am confident that every effort is being made to ensure Pacific people's interests are being well looked after."

Mrs te Heuheu is also meeting ministers from Pacific churches who have played an important part in identifying needs, offering help and ensuring congregations knew about the assistance available to them.

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