Pacific health & wellbeing champions recognised at the SunPix Awards 2022
Updates / Community , 19 Oct 22
The 2022 SunPix Awards saw a number of Pacific leaders honoured for their contribution to Pasifika communities in their respective fields. This year’s event saw two people presented with the Pasifika Futures (PFL) sponsored Pacific Health and Wellbeing Award; Tofilau Talalelei Taufale and Dr Soana Muimuiheata.

Mr Taufale was actively involved during the Covid-19 pandemic, having led the Pacific Health response. Throughout the lockdowns in 2020, he coordinated council and central government responses to support Pacific families across the Ngāti Kahungunu rohe (territory/boundary). He volunteers as a trustee for the Hawke’s Bay Youth Futures Trust, which focuses on moving young people into employment and education. Mr Taufale also leads USO Bike Ride in Hawke’s Bay.

Mr Taufale felt grateful for the award and reflected on what it meant for him and all those who contributed their efforts to supporting families throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I feel really humbled and privileged. It means a lot for Hawke’s Bay; for our community, for our councils, for our agencies - it’s a whole collective effort from everyone. 

I acknowledge my parents who came to New Zealand for a better living for their families. To my wife and my kids - they ended up working in clinics - without you this wouldn't have been possible. The issues that we faced as a family during those times were turbulent but together we got through.”

Mr Taufale also acknowledged PFL and their support for RSE workers in the Hawke’s Bay during the pandemic. 

The second recipient, Dr Soana Muimuiheata, currently works as a Dietitian Consultant for Total Well-being Consultancy Ltd, which provides dietary services for Primary Health organisations. Dr Muimuiheata has extensive practical experience in community dietary services for people with diabetes, training and education, public health and community health promotion programmes. She has also received her PhD from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

“I look back at what we’ve done in the past thirty years of work and I appreciate that it has been recognised. When you do things from your heart, you just keep giving, whether you’re recognised or not. 

I also recognise the sponsorship from Pasifika Futures and the commitment you have made to the Pacific community.”

PFL CEO, Mrs Debbie Sorensen, says it is a privilege to honour both recipients and recognise their service to Pacific communities and families. 

“Tofilau’s leadership to the Pacific community in the Hawke’s Bay over the Covid period is important to be recognised because it exemplifies what we stand for in ensuring that Pacific families around the country feel supported when they are in need.

Dr Soana has demonstrated the value of lifelong learning that is really important to us, our communities and our families. It is fantastic to see another Tongan woman with her PhD, continuing the long tradition of education as a value and excellence.”

Watch the full livestream of this year’s SunPix awards here.

Date: Wednesday 19 October 2022

#PasifikaFutures #PFLFamily