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Health funding now available for Pacific communities

Health funding now available for Pacific communities

The Canterbury DHB’s HEHA (Healthy Eating Healthy Action) team is now re-inviting applicants to apply for health funding for projects for Pacific communities.

Applications can be for one or more of the following: improving nutrition, increasing physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight or improving breastfeeding rates. HEHA Service Development Manager, Hayley Shearer says this funding is a great opportunity to contribute to the long-term health of Canterbury people and reduce health inequalities between population groups.

“We know poor nutrition, physical inactivity and low breastfeeding rates are more prevalent amongst Maori and Pacific populations and healthier behaviours are even more challenging post earthquake,” Hayley says.

Organisers were forced to postpone a HEHA workshop, originally scheduled for February 22 to provide support and inspiration for interested funding applicants, because of the magnitude 6.3 earthquake.

However, it was recently held with support from staff from The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, Pegasus Health and Pacific Trust and showcased four currently funded projects. Through health promoter Torika Patterson, attendees at the workshop learned how Migrant Mums in Ashburton are building confidence and skills in their parenting, while Flory Sio Levy explained why Samoa’s “fresh legs” are having such fun being active with their “hard as” Zumba instructor and how it has helped lift their post quake moods.

Inspiring examples of how the Tongan community is benefiting financially, mentally and physically from “Get Fit and Be Healthy” were provided by Sioeli Ofa, while Dee Henry from The Tahu FM Hundy Club described how a non Pacific entity could support Pacific people.

Guidance to ensure projects aim for sustainable changes was also provided at the workshop. While innovative projects were encouraged, emphasis was made on not unnecessarily re-inventing the wheel, Hayley says.

“It’s about teaching the community to fish, not fish for them, as well as ensuring we learn from and work with each other,” she says.

“Using examples of ‘from the garden to the plate’, healthy food policies in Churches, the Langi Mai project for falls prevention, linking people to Green Prescription and The Breastfeeding Peer counselling programmes in Ashburton and Christchurch.” Applications close for this funding on September 2, 2011. To receive the Request for Proposal (RFP) documentation and application form, please see A summary of the supporting information presented at the workshop is also available here, or for more information, please contact


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