TODAY |

Group tackles isolation and obesity in Christchurch's Pacific community through dance

Tangata Atumotu Trust, otherwise known as TAT, is a Pacific health provider in Christchurch that helps address social isolation and health issues among the Pasifika community.

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Tangata Atumotu aims to address loneliness and health issues among the Pasifika community of Christchurch. Source: 1 NEWS

One of their programmes is called Siva Samoa, providing Samoan matua with a fun way to exercise.

“It’s about working with our community here in the Canterbury region to be able to empower them about their health status to give them some tips of improving health outcomes” says TAT mobile nurse and Zumba instructor, Suli Tuitaupe.  

According to the Ministry of Health, 65 per cent of Pacific adults are obese.

But TAT’s General Manager Carmen Collie hopes to change that.

“Unfortunately we are represented in all the wrong statistics for all the wrong reasons, so it’s really nice to actually come together and celebrate the good parts of Pasifika”

Every week TAT provides transport for it’s members, holds a Zumba session, and provides free lunch and health checks.

Something Suli Tuitaupe says is vital for good health outcomes.  

“It’s about working in that illness prevention space, so looking at health in term of rather than leaving it to cure being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff trying to look at it from a preventative point of view.”

“If we empower our communities and individuals to be able to look after themselves a little bit better then hopefully they don’t get to that point.”

Originally designed for elders, Siva Samoa aims to address more than just health issues.

“Unfortunately we are represented in all the wrong statistics for all the wrong reasons so it’s really nice to actually come together and celebrate the good parts of Pasifika.” General Manager Carmen Collie says.

And they’re now opening it up to the whole community.

“You can imagine how vibrant it always is, the colour and the laughter, everyone’s having a ball, it’s not hard work this is how exercise should be it's actually having fun.”