Tāmaki Playcentre‘s Association is based within South and East Auckland and statistically is positioned within the highest Pacific ethnic communities of New Zealand. However the number of Pacific fanau that attend these Playcentres is very low. It was raised by one of the New Zealand Federation Practitioners, that these specific Playcentres could work on how they are supporting Pacific fanau to be involved in their centres and be the best parents that they can be.
Karen Thomas, a Professional Learning and Development Facilitator for The New Zealand Playcentre Federation acknowledged the need to connect and engage with Pacific fanau in Tāmaki. A programme of workshops were created by Karen in early 2016 and after the first session resulted in low attendance and no further enrolments in future workshops, she connected with Tara requesting support to develop something that would help Pacific Parents in a different way to what Playcentre was currently doing. Karen and Tara decided to focus on how Playcentres could support their Pacific fanau within a Pacific way of working, encouraging Pacific parenting styles and education.
After connecting with every identified Pacific fanau in The Tāmaki Playcentres Association, a talanoa fono series was developed and held at the key Playcentres with high numbers of fanau. These fono gave the fanau opportunities to be counted as Pacific and to gather together to share their experience of being a minority within a larger organisation. Collectively, they worked on developing confidence as Pacific Parents and Karen gathered an understanding of how she can advocate at a higher level to encourage change.
Individually, Pacific parents have come to Tara since the series and talked about how much they enjoyed talking at the fono series, and were excited about the next steps that it may bring for Tāmaki Playcentres Association. Collectively, it was the first time that these fanau have been brought together and identified as a group. This has created an opportunity for Association representatives to discuss advocacy for this group of parents and how their needs can best be met within Playcentre.