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‘Complacency is not an option’ - Pasifika leaders mobilise to help Samoan church community with Covid-19 case

Several Pasifika leaders are helping out a Samoan church community in Auckland who had one of its congregation members test positive for Covid-19.

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A pop-up testing centre has been setup to tackle the threat. Source: 1 NEWS

At the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa Māngere East Puaseisei, Reverend Victor Pouesi urged churchgoers, up to about 300 of them who attended Sunday services, to get tested as a precaution.

“It's better that we confine this and make sure that we have everybody and test as soon as we know who is positively tested,” Reverend Pouesi said.

Reverend Pouesi said the church was liaising with the family affected by Covid-19, and asked people to be supportive of each other.

“We ask also for the families not to be hard on them [the Covid-19-affected family] and don't pass any criticism on them."

The Pacific Leadership Forum and charity ASA Foundation have set up a pop-up testing and support station with Southseas Healthcare at the church, hours after the Reverend asked for help.

They are leading a uniquely Pacific testing station, which is also offering wrap-around services such as pastoral care and counselling.

Many church members live with extended family, so testing is crucial.

Chairperson of the Pacific Leadership Forum Teleiai Edwin Puni said protecting Pasifika was vital. The Forum is a group of Pacific communities advocating for the interests of Pasifika.

“Complacency is not an option and Pacific people are one of the most vulnerable parts of the population,” he said.

“If we protect Pacific communities, we're protecting New Zealand.”

Tofilau Esther Tofilau Tevaga of the ASA foundation said a lot of the church’s members lived outside of Māngere.

“So, it’s important to direct them to come here where it's a place and a space that's safe," she said.

About 100 people are expected to be tested at the station today from the Samoan church community.

Meanwhile, 300 food packages are expected to be handed out.