Pacific community connections key to wellbeing during COVID-19

Pacific peoples’ connection – to family, community, culture and faith – has been a key source of strength and resilience in the pandemic. This is according to today’s Te Hiringa Mahara – the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission report Pacific connectedness and wellbeing in the pandemic [PDF, 9.5 MB].  

This report looks at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the wellbeing of Pacific peoples in Aotearoa.  

“Specifically, it focuses on connectedness, a core aspect of wellbeing for Pacific peoples, and how connectedness was both impacted by the pandemic and a key feature in the how Pacific community responses served to support families and helped mitigate the challenges,” says Te Hiringa Mahara Chief Executive Karen Orsborn.   

Pacific peoples endured significant challenges in the pandemic, and this included serious disruption to the ways they connected with family, community, church and culture. 

“The pandemic highlighted the value of connectedness to maintaining Pacific communities’ health and wellbeing. Throughout the worse periods of the pandemic, Pacific people drew on their connections to provide flexible and practical support to each other – support like trustworthy and accessible public health information, access to health care, food and care packages, and spiritual and social help. 

The lessons learned from Pacific communities' experiences during the pandemic should inform future policies and responses.  

“Pacific peoples must be involved in decision-making processes that directly affect them, with government agencies actively engaging with Pacific organisations that possess deep-rooted community knowledge and trust. More data and research is necessary to better understand and support Pacific wellbeing and the diverse experiences within unique cultural and ethnic Pacific populations. 

“Pacific people have shown that they know how to support their communities - we can support greater wellbeing by listening to Pacific peoples, involving them in decision-making, and trusting and resourcing them to support each other and their communities.”