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Church urges recognition of the true wealth

Presbyterian Church Association of NZ: Church urges recognition of the true wealth

Pacific peoples have a significant role to play in enriching and strengthening both the spiritual and cultural life of New Zealand says the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, the Right Rev Pamela Tankersley. She labels the recent study from Massey University titled, Growing Pains, Evaluations and the Cost of Human Capital, as divisive and short sighted.

"This study looks for negatives and ignores the positives. Pacific peoples have enriched New Zealand social capital with a wealth of cultural values and practices, something that no study should ignore. We would be far poorer without the Pacific peoples that have made New Zealand home."

Pamela agrees that some Pacific peoples face issues, particularly those associated with living in economically depressed areas. "But these are not problems unique to Pacific peoples, and they are problems for all New Zealander's to address."

Census 2006 highlighted that Pacific people are the youngest and the fastest growing population in New Zealand. Over 50% of Pacific people living in New Zealand today were born in New Zealand. The growth of the Pacific peoples in New Zealand is reflected in the growth of Pacific Islander Presbyterian churches.

"The Church greatly values our Pacific peoples. Pacific values and Presbyterian values are often the same: love, kinship, generosity, compassion and working together for the benefit of community," says Pamela.

"The emphasis the Church places on Pacific youth is around finding ways they can thrive, not over-emphasising difficulties that they are well aware of.

"We have Presbyterian Church elders, such as the Hon Winnie Laban, the first Pacific Island woman Minister of the Crown, who provide Pacific youth with the kind of inspiration and encouragement they both deserve and need to realise their great potential in New Zealand society. Pacific peoples are well aware of their successes even if economists are not."

ENDS

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