Recommended Sponsor - Buy Original Artwork Directly from the Artist

Source: University of Auckland

The need to increase Pacific and Rainbow+ leadership was a major finding in the Manalagi project, the first and largest research of its kind addressing the health and wellbeing of Aotearoa, New Zealand’s Pacific Rainbow+ community.

A three-year long study backed by the Health Research Council of New Zealand, Manalagi is led by Seuta’afili Dr Patrick Thomsen of Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland.

Developed in partnership with F’INE Pasifika Aotearoa Trust and Pacific Rainbow+ community members, the project concludes next week with the Manalagi Survey Community Report being gifted to the community on November 14 in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland.

Dr Thomsen says the study showed more health and service organisations need to be Pacific-led, given discrimination was an all-too-common experience for Pacific Rainbow+ communities.

Of the 750 respondents, 60 per cent encountered discrimination in the form of racism and homo/transphobia, with many subjected to culturally unsafe practices when seeking health care.

Although Pacific Rainbow+ community members live across the country, support was thin on the ground. Whānau Ora currently fund only one Pacific-led Rainbow+ service provider – F’INE Pasifika Aotearoa Trust in Manukau. More than half of participants felt safer with a health professional from their own cultural background, who had a strong understanding of their Pacific and Rainbow+ worldview.

“Health professionals are currently ill-equipped to best support our communities, there needs to be training in areas of cultural competency and ways to also affirm the Rainbow+ identity and experiences of our communities,” said Dr Thomsen.

The survey also showed high costs and a lack of awareness around available services were barriers to health care. Two thirds were unaware of the type of services available to them regarding mental health support. Instead, respondents relied on close fri