PICTT assist with living the NZ dream

Posted 30/10/2019

Whanau Ora puts whanau at the centre of decision-making about their future. It recognises the collective strength and capability of whanau to achieve better outcomes in areas such as health, education, housing, employment and income levels.

My name is Beryl and I am a team member of the Pacific Island Community Tauranga Trust (PICTT). I am passionate about my role as the Whanau Ora Coordinator. I would like to highlight one of the many positive stories I have experienced in my role. I have chosen this story as it is the most recent case and I wanted to thank and highlight the true community approach.

I am currently working with a Kiribati single mother of two children. She is a current Whanau Ora client who developed a relationship of a few years with a crew member of a shipping company that comes into the Tauranga port every six weeks. On one trip this crew member accidentally missed his report time back on the ship and also missed his ship's departure from New Zealand. This accidental episode tagged him as an illegal immigrant in New Zealand. 

The Kiribati community rallied around the couple offering support, advice trying to find the best way to approach Immigration NZ, with the hope of direction in applying or making the seaman's stay legal. The Kiribati community and his girlfriend made the choice to trust and involve Beryl as the Whanau Ora Coordinator. 

As the Whanau Ora Coordinator I knew I couldn't do this on my own as I realised this was a serious case and out of my job description. But, I helped because his girlfriend and her children's wellbeing was compromised through emotional, financial, mental and spiritual stressors. 

I am a natural people person and find networking rewarding both personally and professionally. I enlisted the help of people and organisations I had networked with for help with this situation as I knew if the seaman was deported he would face a seven year stand down period of returning to NZ. Putting distance and strain on this young couples relationship as they both declared to me they feel married in their heart and want to formalise their commitment legally. 

I worked with the following organisations: Tauranga New Immigrant Settlement, Sharp Tudhope Lawyers, Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, Immigration NZ, NZ Police and MAERSK shipping services. With the help of these services, I was able to gain advice and created a pathway for the seaman to voluntarily leave NZ without being deported. This case has a positive outcome as the seaman flew home of his own accord, where he will meet with his employer to discuss his employment situation. The seaman has a goal of completing his immigration application to return and be with this hearts chosen love, here in NZ where he hopes to live the NZ dream with his chosen family.

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