Our History


Fonua Ola Network was founded by a group of Pacific Island pioneers who have been serving our Pacific communities since the 1970’s. These pioneers carried passion, mana and a heart for their local and ethnic specific communities. Fonua Ola is the essence of their vision for our Pacific communities within Aotearoa. It is for the next generation to learn from their sacrifices and carry on that vision.

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Fonua Ola Network formally known as the Auckland Pasefika Providers Family Violence Prevention Network evolved initially from a small group of concerned providers, namely Pastor Kiria Kiria, Namulaulu Maria Levi and Samalaulu Joy Ramsay.  As a response to the Child, Youth and Family Service Family Violence Campaign, and the identification of a high level of notifications of Pacific children to Child Youth and Family Service sites in South Auckland, they set about establishing the network. Under their leadership, by June 2007, the Network had grown to a membership of ten provider organisations and two supporters, and the group was duly named the South Auckland Pacific Providers Network.


The network was officially launched on the 29th of September 2007 by the former Manukau City Mayor Sir Barry Curtis, with guest speaker Honourable Member of Parliament Luamanuvao Winnie Laban.  The event culminated in a Violence Free South Auckland March around the Otara flea market and Otara Shopping Centre. Other supporters at the time included Manu Sione of Counties Manukau District Health Board, Sua Viliamu Sio (then Manukau City Councillor) and local Member of Parliament Ross Robertson.


Later in July 2008, a further effort to expand the Network, attracting member organisations from Central and West Auckland, was spearheaded by Pacific Providers in response to comments made by the Honourable Ruth Dyson - Minister for Community and the Voluntary Sector, who, during a visit to a network member organisation, Mother of Divine Mercy Charitable Trust, as part of an initial round of visits for the  Ministry of Social Development (MSD) Pathway to Partnership national project, expressed her interest in providers working together, and talked about the value of Pacific provider collaborations across the Auckland region. With the support of Child, Youth and Family Service, Tofa Suafole Gush (National Manager, Pacific) there were thirteen Pacific provider member organisations officially affiliated to the network, then known as the Auckland Pasefika Provider Family Violence Prevention Network Trust. 


Main rationale for formation of network

The main rationale for the network was primarily to strengthen the capacity, sustainability and positioning of Pacific social service providers in the greater Auckland region. The primary aim was to ensure the delivery of responsive, quality assured, essential social services to meet the growing social needs of a burgeoning Pacific population in the wider Auckland region.


The much heralded government strategy of the “family violence prevention” platform has afforded Pacific social service providers the opportunity to forge a strategic collaboration, whereby collective strengths be enhanced for the benefit of our communities; and identified service gaps and service weaknesses to be addressed in a constructive and collaborative way.


As Pacific providers situated in Auckland, home to the largest Pacific population in the southern hemisphere, it was our premise that we play a proactive, collaborative and at times, take a lead position in the development of any strategy, initiatives and policies that involve addressing the family violence issues within our Pacific communities in the region. As such, we were committed to ensuring that each network member gained the support and assistance to develop and grow their services to a level of excellence, which is the very least that our Pacific families deserve.


In 2009, Maria Mavoa, Chairperson of Mother of Divine Mercy Charitable Trust and the Network members gathered their statistics based on the work that they do and formed the overview landscape of what Pacific social services within the Auckland region looked like.


Ethnic diversity

Network membership was pan-Pacific, with collective service provision tailored to cater for some seven Pacific Island ethnic communities in the greater Auckland region, including Samoan; Cook Islands; Tongan; Tokelauan, Niuean, Fijian and Tuvaluan peoples.


Geographical spread

The priority target areas for service provision by network member organisations covered the greater Auckland region, with the majority of providers based in South Auckland, and the rest servicing the Central, East, West and North Auckland regions.


Range of essential services provided

The essential services that were provded by the network members included the following:

  • Budgeting services

  • Social work practice & counselling services

  • Children & family violence prevention programmes

  • Residential care & protection services

  • Parenting programmes

  • Refuge accommodation

  • Emergency housing service

  • Sexual abuse counselling & support


Core competencies

Providers’ specialisation and expertise that were evident through their performance outcomes were in the following areas:

  • Budgeting service specialising in prevention of mortgagee sales and tenant evictions

  • Prevention and crisis intervention of family violence and abuse, working with Pacific families; including male perpetrators of domestic violence

  • Whole of family approach to family violence

  • Counselling in indigenous languages

  • Culturally tailored social work practice

  • Parenting programmers


Guiding principles

The Network membership was guided by the following set of principles:

  • Christian values

  • Respect

  • Mutual support and encouragement

  • Accountability

  • Transparency

  • Consultation

  • Diversity

  • Integrity

  • Collaboration

  • Innovation

  • Social Justice

  • Cultural values and beliefs


This essential information was also shared with key stakeholders in Government including Minister Tariana Turia. Stuart Ramsay of LIA Trust incorporated the Trust in 2009 and gained CYF Approval standards. It was then that we received our first contract to provide the National Tagata Tuamotu Leadership Programme for Practitioners within Pacific providers throughout New Zealand.


In 2009 the network was incorporated and the first Trustees included:

  • Pastor Kiria Kiria of Auckland Cook Island Social Services Trust (Chairperson 2009-12)

  • Namulaulu Maria Levi  of Pasefika Mana Social Work Support Trust (2009-10)

  • Samalaulu Joy Ramsay LIA Trust (2009-10)

  • Maria Mavoa of Mother of Divine Mercy Charitable Trust (2009-10)

  • Peseta Betty Sio of Pacific Island Safety and Prevention Trust (2009-10)

  • Nuku Rapana of Pukapuka Community of New Zealand (2009-11)

  • Lupe Vaofanua of Manukau PI Trust (2009-12)

  • Wesley Fifita of Tamaki Langafonua Community Centre (2009-10)

  • Vaiola Harris of Vaiola PI Budgeting Services (2009-12)


Since then the make-up of the Board changed and included;

  • Brenda Simmons Vui Talitu of O Le Lafitaga Trust (Vice Chairperson 2010-12, Chairperson 2012)

  • Dr Fiva Faalau of Pasifika Health and Social Services Incorporated (Secretary 2010-12)

  • Anastasia Levi Iosi of Pasefika Mana Social Work Support Trust (2010-12)

  • Pikura Pikura of Pukapuka Community of New Zealand (2010-11)

  • Uina Mahe (2010), Leota Tahaafe (2010-11), Gorreti Kalolo (2011-12) and Naite  Mahe (2012) from Tamaki Langafonua Community Centre


Collaboration of Pacific Social Service Providers led by policy changes within the Ministry of Social Development 

In 2012 the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) released a service delivery model that supports providers working together in collaboration or joining up. Pacific providers have historically provided valued and much-needed services to local Pacific communities, with valued knowledge, experience and skills that have been built over time.  


Due to the ever changing Political and Economic environment,  these changes that MSD were experiencing became an opportunity to cultivate the koloa (treasure) that is and was attained by many of our Pacific providers and Kaumatua.  Fonua Ola has the chance to make a difference in the lives of our Pacific communities that have migrated, our first and second and even our third generation Pacific communities.  We can only do this by harnessing the treasures of our ancestory, in which our Pacific providers have been doing for the past 30 years within the Social sector through language, culture and beliefs and journey in the future with these treasures.  


Fonua Ola becomes a CYF-approved social service provider 

In 2012 the  government focussed on investing in services for outcomes, Fonua Ola Network adapted to this period of transformation. The Fonua Ola Network, once an umbrella service that brought provider managers together on a regular basis for training and support, became a CYF-approved social service provider in early 2013. 


The first qualified and experienced social workers and counsellors were then employed, coming from mainstream, CYF and Maori providers, bringing with them knowledge, skills and experience. For the community, this meant services are aligned, standardised, culturally appropriate and outcome driven, allowing Fonua Ola to fulfil the vision and mission


Acknowledging our heritage and identity, while moving forward with change 

As a CYF-approved social service provider, Fonua Ola’s focus shifted to these areas 

  • acknowledging the experience, skills and learnings of our Pacific providers, spanning the 30 or more years of their existence. 

  • Use this knowledge and experience to develop and support our Pacific conceptual framework around cultural knowledge and practice for practitioners through programmes, individual and family services.

  • Standardise services under one set of policies and procedures and a have complete quality management system 

  • Support the development and professionalism of staff through workforce and professional development

  • Provide a quality, professional service to support Pacific communities to prosper 


In 2017 the Board reviewed the vision and mission and adapted the wording to reflect a stronger connection with the community it serves.