Pasifika providers come to aid of South Auckland families recovering from Covid

Barbara Dreaver
Source: 1News

Amanda Baice Mataeliga, recovering from Covid-19 after being in intensive care at Middlemore Hospital, is relieved to be walking into a community home for herself and her family.

Her road has been a tough one.

She gave birth to Wunder Grace Blessing two weeks ago, with the baby born premature at seven months, but wasn’t able to see and hold her until this week now she has recovered from Covid.

As part of the AOG Samoan cluster, Mataeliga and her large family have been selected for transitional housing and wraparound services delivered by a Pasifika collective of providers.

“It’s a blessing truly a blessing, we are a big family so some will be at our other home some will be living here,” she told 1 News.

The seven homes in Otahuhu are run by the Penina Trust, which has 140 units to temporarily house families in need.

These ones will be for families recovering from Covid-19 and will include a raft of medical and social support.

Penina Trust chief executive Tupuola Roine Lealaiauloto says this is a good example of the Government working with providers and communities to make sure those recovering from Covid-19 are looked after.

“These units were due to come online in a couple of months but we asked and worked with the Ministry of Health to put these aside in case we had a Pacific cluster which is exactly what has happened,” she said.

Jerome Mika from The Cause Collective, who has worked closely with the AOG cluster, says Pasifika coming out of MIQ and hospital are confronted with a raft of challenging issues – some have lost jobs and homes because they are in rent arrears.

“Housing, employment, we have also had issues around mental health, support for children in education even the digital divide…that’s why the initiative to bring them into transitional homes is a great way to partner and integrate back into the community,” he said.

Medical support from South Seas Healthcare is also being provided for the families.

Its CEO, Lemalu Silao Vaisola-Sefo, says his organisation has been working for the past few weeks with the AOG cluster and now they are pleased to be helping those emerging from MIQ.

“We are going to provide medical support through primary care we have got doctors and nurses who have been here this afternoon who can speak Samoan so that is to build, to continue the trust, that our community have had with South Seas,” he said.

For Mataeliga, the support from both her church and the Pasifika providers has meant a lot.

“I’m really looking forward to bringing our baby home to her new home and also the rest of the family – they are still in MIQ…we are going to give thanks to God because if it wasn’t  for him, I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t have a baby and we wouldn’t be together anymore,” she said.

For this family being together is everything.