K’aute Pasifika Village provides pillar for the community

Tuesday 17th January 2023 marked the official opening of the ground-breaking K’aute Pasifika Village in Hamilton, New Zealand. The project is the culmination of more than two decades of community focused work by the K’aute Pasifika Trust who offer health, employment, education, and social services primarily targeted at Pasifika communities.

24 years ago, Leaupepe Elisapeta Karalus was a teaching nurse at the Waikato Institute of Technology and asked local politicians and Pacific leaders to address the lack of access to healthcare services by the Pacific community. Following this, people from all Pacific communities came together for a two-day fono and the K’aute Pasifika Trust was born.

The purpose-built facility is the first of its kind in New Zealand and will provide holistic Pasifika-focused wraparound services to meet the needs of the community. The village offers an early learning centre, GP and pharmacy services, and a fale for community events in addition to their current programmes.

K’aute Trust CEO, Leaupepe Rachel Karalus, says their model is aimed at supporting rural communities who have faced GP shortages for a long time. The village is expected to serve 21,000 Pasifika living in the region.

The project was backed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Trust Waikato, WEL Energy Trust, the Ministry of Education, and the Department of Internal Affairs.

Both Karalus and trust chairperson Namalau’ulu Lale Ieremia stated that the trust is looking to expand its services model regionally and nationally.

“There are other opportunities for us to capitalise on if we want to be able to leverage this facility to do similar things in other areas across the country,” says Karalus.

While the services offered by the K’aute Pasifika Trust are geared towards the Pacific community, Karalus says they are inclusive of everyone irrespective of ethnicity.

“It’s a privilege and it’s a responsibility to be here pushing for things that continue to strengthen resilience in our communities and enhance the well-being and prosperity of our people.”