Pasifika Health

Talofa lava, Kia orana, Malo e lelei, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Bula vinaka, Namaste, Malo ni, Halo ola keta, Mauri, Fakatalofa atu, Kia ora, Greetings.

There are more than 40 different Pasifika ethnic groups in New Zealand – each with their own culture, language, and history. The 2013 Census recorded 295,941 individual Pasifika people living in New Zealand.

Canterbury has been home to Pasifika peoples for many decades. Approximately 13,000 Pasifika peoples call Canterbury home, making up 2.3% of the Canterbury population. Pasifika peoples in Canterbury are a young and diverse group with many members identifying with multiple Pasifika and other ethnicities.

Primary health care services are vital to maintain and promote health, particularly for population groups such as Pasifika peoples who have inequitable health outcomes. Investment in developing primary health care has been shown to be more effective in reducing health inequities than investments in the health care system in general.

In this section:


Pasifika people’s health

Pasifika peoples across the health system have significant inequalities in a number of health areas and have lower overall health status than other population groups in Canterbury. This is reflected in lower life expectancy, higher rates of chronic disease, and premature disability.

The determinants of Pasifika people’s poor health are numerous and complex. The factors that have been shown to have the greatest influence on health for Pasifika peoples are socio-cultural and economic, including income and poverty, employment and occupation, education, housing, and ethnicity.

Research has also indicated that access to primary health care services is a problem. Poor access to primary care is known to compound existing inequalities in health. Many Pasifika people have limited knowledge of the New Zealand health system such as the services that are available and how to access them.

Factors affecting the health of Pasifika people in Canterbury

Community and Public Health have produced this infographic on the factors affecting the health of Pasifika people in Canterbury. Click on the infographic for a larger version.

Pasifika Health Strategies, Plans & Reports


‘Ala Mo‘ui: Pathways to Pacific Health and Wellbeing 2014–2018

‘Ala Mo‘ui is New Zealand’s Pasifika Health Strategy. It sets out the priority outcomes and actions for the 2014-2018 period that will contribute to achieving better health outcomes for Pasifika people, families and communities.

‘Ala Mo‘ui is for the entire health and disability sector, including the Ministry of Health, district health boards, primary health organisations, Pasifika and non-Pasifika health and disability providers, and other relevant agencies.

You can read ‘Ala Mo‘ui: Pathways to Pacific Health and Wellbeing 2014-2018 on the Ministry of Health’s website.

Canterbury Pacific Health Framework 2015-2018

The Canterbury Pacific Health Framework is a joint outcomes framework developed by Canterbury PHOs and the Canterbury DHB in consultation with other members of the Pacific community. The framework establishes shared outcomes, shared priority areas, shared language and common understanding so that we can better achieve our goal of health equity for Pasifika peoples.

The Canterbury Pacific Health Framework:

  • identifies shared outcomes and priority areas
  • acts as a basis for organisation work plans and;
  • encourages collective efforts that make a difference for Pasifika peoples in Canterbury

Read the Canterbury Pacific Health Framework 2015-2018.

Pegasus Health Pacific Health Work Plan

The Pegasus Pacific Health Work Plan has its foundation in the Canterbury Pacific Health Framework. The Framework’s six enablers provide the areas of action. Each area of action has objectives, activities and measures specific to; the framework’s shared outcomes and priority areas.

  • Whānau Ora: Pasifika ‘āiga, kāiga, magafaoa, kōpū tangata, vuvale, fāmili are supported to achieve maximum health and wellbeing.
  • Access to care: Primary health care services are fully accessible to Pasifika peoples.
  • Workforce: Build the capacity and capability of existing and potential primary care workforce meet the health and health care needs of Pasifika peoples.
  • Understanding our population: The health and health care needs of Pasifika peoples are understood and effective strategies that contribute to maximum health outcomes are identified and implemented.
  • Cross sector and social service linkages: Pegasus Health and Pegasus Health affiliated primary health care providers work and link with Pasifika communities and across sectors to achieve optimum health outcomes for Pasifika peoples.
  • Leadership: Pasifika peoples and their allies are identified, supported and developed for key leadership roles in health and associated services.

Activities within the work plan include:

  • HPV immunisation coverage
  • B4 School Check coverage
  • Cervical screening rates
  • Child/youth health
  • Development of a comprehensive cultural competency programme
  • Use of Pasifika demographic data as part of planning – to ensure Pasifika are consistently considered in all planning
  • Workforce development – Pegasus Health Workforce Development Scholarships, Pasifika leadership development.


Pegasus Health Pasifika Leadership

Pegasus has a key role dedicated to improving health outcomes and reducing health inequalities, and to supporting Pasifika peoples in Canterbury to flourish.

The Pacific Health Manager provides leadership for Pasifika people’s health within Pegasus Health. This includes advice across the organisation on best practice ways to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequalities for Pasifika peoples, workforce development initiatives for the Pasifika health workforce and development of cultural competency development education and training.

As well as playing an important role within the organisation and progressing many of the activities within the work plan, Pegasus Health’s Pacific Health Manager works closely with Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury and the managers from Christchurch and Rural Canterbury PHOs to help deliver on our shared outcomes and priorities. The Pacific Health Manager also supports the Pacific Reference Group, a Canterbury-wide health advisory group.

Pegasus Health Cultural Competency Education Programme

Coupled with addressing issues of access, a culturally competent approach to primary health addresses inequalities in health care and barriers between different communities and health care systems to ensure a culturally competent workforce.

Specific action to address the cultural competence of health systems and the health workforce is critical and will ensure that health services meet the needs of different ethnic groups and that the services are designed and delivered in a way that people will choose to use them.

Pegasus has a cultural competency education programme that supports general practice teams to understand cultural competency and safety in order to improve access and the health of the enrolled Pasifika population.

Pegasus Health Workforce Development Scholarships

Pegasus Health recognises that to improve the health status of all populations we serve, the Canterbury health system needs to be culturally responsive and provide services that are accessible and appropriate for the diversity of Canterbury people and communities.

Each year, Pegasus Health awards a number of Workforce Development Scholarships to students from Māori, Pasifika and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds, working towards medicine, nursing or allied health degrees, with the aim of enhancing the cultural and linguistic richness of the health sector.

Since 2001 when these scholarships were first established, numerous aspiring recipients have been assisted, many of whom have gone on to outstanding careers in primary health care.

Read more about these scholarships and how to apply under Health Professionals > Health Student Scholarships.

Pacific Reference Group

The Pacific Reference Group was formed in 2000 (known then as the Pacific Health Meeting) in recognition of the health inequalities of our Pasifika population. It is a Canterbury-wide combined group of PHOs, clinicians, Pasifika providers, Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury and community and government organisations.

The Pacific Reference Group provides leadership, advice and influences the way in which services, policy and plans are developed to ensure Pasifika peoples are consistently considered throughout the Canterbury health system, in particular, primary health care services.

Read more about the Pacific Reference Group under About Pegasus Health > Our Governance & Structure > Advisory Boards & Groups.

Canterbury Clinical Network Pasifika Caucus

The Canterbury Clinical Network (CCN) is a collective alliance of healthcare leaders, professionals and providers from across the Canterbury health system. CCN provides leadership to the transformation of the Canterbury health system in collaboration with system partners and on behalf of the people of Canterbury.

The Pasifika Caucus is dedicated to supporting, advising and re-orienting the Canterbury health care system to better meet the needs of Pasifika communities in the region. The Pasifika Caucus aims to focus its efforts on an approach to ensure the health care system delivers equitable, comprehensive; continuous and connected care to all and is mindful of social determinants that may hinder access to primary care for some communities.

The Pasifika Caucus will also focus on developing Pasifika leadership and providing support, education and guidance to the members who are Pasifika representatives within the Canterbury Clinical Network Alliance groups.

More information about the CCN can be found on the CCN’s website.