By Aden Miles Morunga, Local Democracy Reporter
“It’s exciting to know that I am involved in making history and that my contribution will leave a legacy for my tupuna and mokopuna to be proud of.”
The words of Waikato Pasifika health advocate Mareta Matenga, who is helping lead a new Pan Pacific Community Hub in Hamilton.
“I am supporting the development of an integrated wellbeing service delivery model which will see different K’aute Pasifika-owned entities operating seamlessly in the same space,” Matenga said.
“This involves me supporting Leaupepe Rachel Karalus, K’aute Pasifika CEO, to support the development of this model, by working alongside other consultants who are also working on the development of the hub.
“My role is specific to the actual services that will work out of the new hub and preparing the team to transition well to the hub.”
The Pan Pacific Community Hub will include an integrated health centre, a stand-alone early learning facility and an open fale-style community space.
The fale is expected to open in September, followed by the childcare and early learning centre in November. The wellbeing component is set to open early next year.
Free or low cost services
The hub is expected to offer free or low cost services in health, social, employment, housing and education.
K’aute Pasifika said the hub would enable the trust to better support the holistic wellbeing of families using Pacific models of care.
It will also increase connectedness and the sense of identity, and celebrate and support academic, sporting, creative and leadership potential and achievements.
Born and raised in Kirikiriroa (Hamilton), Matenga’s parents Ere (nee Marsters, Pamati Island) and the late George Ford (Vaipae, Aitutaki Island), together with her eight siblings have dedicated their lives to serving the Hamilton Cook Island Community and their Pacific Islands Presbyterian faith community.
Matenga is well-known within the Waikato community and has more than 20 years’ experience working in community development and community-led approaches.
“I remember being involved over the years in many community fono to dream and discuss how a place like the Pan Pacific Community Hub will help our community thrive and to celebrate our Pacific-ness in Kirikiriroa,” she said.
Matenga said it was exciting to be involved in creating history and that her contribution would leave a legacy for her tupuna and mokopuna.
Strong community experience
K’aute Pasifika chief executive Rachel Karalus said Matenga’s strong community experience and connections were an asset to the organisation and the Waikato community.
“Mareta is a well-known and respected community leader who has dedicated herself to support not only her Cook Island community but all the communities in the Waikato,” she said.
“Mareta’s extensive experience in community engagement, community development and planning large scale projects and events will be invaluable to the development of the Wellbeing Service Delivery Model, that will sit inside and across the Pan Pacific Community Hub.”
Matenga said she was also grateful for the 20 years she had worked at the Hamilton City Council, and the vast experiences working with the Waikato community.
“I’m a proud Cook Islander and love knowing that my community support me, not only in the city of Hamilton, region of Waikato, Nation of Aotearoa, but also throughout the world.”
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air.