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K’aute Pasifika Village Opens In The Heart Of Kirikiriroa

Over 1500 people from across Aotearoa and the broader Pacific Region gathered to celebrate the momentous opening of the first stage of K’aute Pasifika’s Village, in Kirikiriroa.

The first of its kind in New Zealand, the Village will provide Pasifika-focused holistic, wraparound services including an early learning centre, integrated wellbeing services and an iconic fale (meeting house) for community and cultural events.

Leaupepe Rachel Karalus CEO of K’aute Pasifika Trust, acknowledges it has been a long journey and humbling to see the dream come to fruition.

“The Village is the physical manifestation of a community aspiration conceived 24 plus years ago by Pacific communities in Kirikiriroa. It’s a grassroots initiative that delivers on communities’ voices and aspirations. We acknowledge the tenacity and resilience of past and present board members, staff, supporters and everyone involved that has helped bring the vision of the Village to life,” says Leaupepe.

The Village will provide existing services that span across the wellbeing domains (health and wellbeing, education, employment, and housing) and will include new integrated GP and other clinical services. Leaupepe Rachel Karalus says the driver is to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for Pacific and broader communities.

“The opening is a significant milestone for our organisation and community. A time to reflect on the journey, remember our supporters and voices that are not with us today, and be grateful. It is another step in a broader vision of supporting Pacific aspiration and contribution to our Waikato Region. We know we must achieve equity in the services we offer our communities, before continuing to strive for the excellence in our services to transform our futures.”

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Leaupepe Rachel Karalus says, “There are a lot of people and groups in different spaces that have supported the Village development in different ways and at different stages of our journey. Our relationship with tangata whenua has been key to helping us achieve this part of our vision and journey. We sincerely thank each and every person for their contribution.”

Positioned in the heart of Kirikiriroa on the West town green belt, the Village was supported by Hamilton City Council who approved leasing of the site to K’aute Pasifika. A fully funded project which included support from Kanoa, Trust Waikato, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development, Department of Internal Affairs, Wel Energy Trust and Len Reynolds Trust.

Chair of K’aute Pasifika Trust, Namalau’ulu Lale Ieremia says this is a project delivered through partnership, relationships and a shared vision of a Village for all, focused on Pacific models and practices.

“This is a development which was delivered by our community with central government, local government, philanthropic funders, and business and is reflective of an attitude that if we move together, it might take a little longer, but we will travel a lot further.”

Waikato has a growing Pacific population of almost 25,000. Plans are underway for the support and development of similar Villages and Pacific housing solutions in the region.

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