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Voice for Pacific peoples

BY ROMY UDANGA
Last updated 05:00 30/04/2009
Photo: ROMY UDANGA

PACIFIC VOICE: Newly elected Pacific Islands Advisory Committee chairwoman Tupou Manapori, right, and deputy chairwoman Salote Lilo say the Pacific community’s voice should not be lost in Auckland region’s supercity structure.

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Pacific leaders have re-elected Tupou Tamata-Manapori as chairwoman of Manukau City Council’s Pacific Islands Advisory Committee.

Salote Heleta Lilo is the new deputy chairwoman.

Mrs Manapori, one of three Cook Islands representatives on the committee, has been serving the Pacific community for close to three decades.

That service was recognised early this year when she was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal.

A founding member of the committee, Mrs Manapori has been teaching at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate for more than 28 years.

She was a Manukau city councillor from 1983 to 1992, sat on the Otara Community Board for 16 years and has ongoing involvement in sports bodies and Cook Island community organisations.

Mrs Manapori says PIAC has to ensure it "continues to work as one body alongside Manukau City Council".

"It will be a big journey, especially with Manukau’s own Pasifika event," she says.

Mrs Lilo is one of the three new Tongan representatives on the committee.

She has lived in Mangere for the past 25 years with her husband Lehopoame Tufui Lilo of Tongoleleka, Ha’apai, and children Siotame, Juliet and Judith, and grandchildren Charlotte and Tufui Jr.

"We are here to serve our Pacific Island community. Our main focus is our people’s best interest," she says.

Mrs Manapori says the committee should be passionate about "contributing positively to addressing key issues that affect the everyday lives of Pacific people, especially with the Auckland Council looming".

The committee has agreed to support a Pasefika regional fono on the supercity scheduled for May 11.

"We are not all going to agree on all views but our people must speak. We must also have a voice for PIAC."

PIAC was established in 1991 as a dedicated, formal channel through which the city’s Pacific community could raise issues impacting on their lives. The 14-member committee provides feedback to the council on matters affecting Pacific peoples such as policy, education, economic development and health and wellbeing.

It works closely with the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, church and community groups, Counties Manukau District Health Board, City of Manukau Education Trust and other organisations that provide services for Manukau’s Pacific communities.

Other Pacific nations represented at PIAC include Samoa, Niue, Tokelau and Fiji.

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- Manukau Courier

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