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Otago talks home ownership with its Pasefika community

Tuesday 22 November 2022 9:00am

Pasefika Fono image

The Otago Business School’s (OBS) Pasefika community were recently invited to come together, share kai and hear about pathways to home ownership.

The community fono was held in conjunction with Otago Polytechnic and Kāinga Ora and showcased the services and support available for those looking to get on the property ladder.

Associate Dean (Pacific) of the OBS Esmay Lemalu-Eteuati says this year has been a year of partnerships and community initiatives for the OBS.

The fono was organised by Commerce Pacific Projects for the OBS Masoe Antonio Seiuli and Pasefika Development Lead at Otago Polytechnic Nimo Elisara-Too.

“I believe our University and Polytechnic Pacific staff are in a privileged position to share important and relevant information to our communities,” Mr Seiuli says.

“Knowledge is power. This is how we build up our communities

“The little knowledge that you know may be a revelation to someone else.”

This event was also an opportunity for the hosts to promote tertiary studies amongst guests not yet associated with Otago Polytechnic or the OBS.

“It’s about empowering our people. I’m a connector. My job is to connect our people to the resources,” Ms Elisara-Too says.

“If our people aren’t informed, it’s hard for them to make decisions to support their families.”

She says since using this platform to advise Pasefika communities about the opportunities offered by the Polytechnic and the OBS at the event, several attendees have made inquiries about enrolment.

Pasefika Fono image 1

Mr Seiuli says he hoped to inspire more adults from the community to pursue study as mature students.

Attendees heard from Product Manager Lisa Lahood from Kāinga Ora, who spoke about avenues of support for first time home buyers, and Mortgage Advisor Liam Thomas from Mortgage Link, who spoke about the processes involved in getting a mortgage.

“This was a highlight for me because it informed people that the mortgage brokers do all the running around for them, and that it’s a free service,” Mr Seiuli says.

The event was not just a series of presentations, but rather an opportunity for two-way communication between these professionals and the Pasefika community.

Ms Lemalu-Eteuati says it was great hearing the varied experiences of Pacific couples, families, communities and organisations.

During the discussion forum, attendees asked questions pertinent to their circumstances. In response, Mr Thomas and Ms Lahood advised on a range of scenarios.

“I believe the community fono setting is a better format for our people,” Mr Seiuli says.

“The different experiences and different views shared were important in encouraging conversations amongst everyone.”

Barriers to engaging with banks was also discussed at the event. Ms Elisara-Too says she is grateful for the clear guidelines given by the guest speakers because “some of these processes can be really daunting for our people”.

Ms Lemalu-Eteuati says seeing so many familiar faces from the community “thirsty for information” was “a real highlight”.

“It was great to see that Pacific people are working hard and trying their best to save for a home,” she says.

“This event was a more personal approach to engaging the community in these discussions that allowed them to have a voice and ask their questions.”

- Kōrero by Keilah Fox

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