“Like alcohol is easily accessible to buy and get, see coming from Mangere and Southside,
there is a liquor store in every corner especially in Otara, also they look at social media
like American gangs, American rap, they see and follow that hip hop culture, but the problem is that the youth are no knowing what their own culture is you know,
they are just following what the media portrays and they conform to it…stink buzz” (Fehoko, 2014)
We need to address the environmental factors that often cause a disproportionate impact of alcohol-related harm among Pacific communities. For example, alcohol is widely accessible where Pacific people live. Other factors include alcohol sponsorship in sport/club events. Therefore, it is important to also check out other sections on ActionPoint and take action accordingly.
Reducing alcohol-related harm by applying Pacific Health models
In additional to addressing the environmental factors, check out the following models/projects that utilise church settings to promote healthy lifestyles.
This includes Pacific Health models namely the Fonua model and the The Fonofale model. In the Auckland region, there are two major health promotion projects in Pacific churches. These models or projects often take a comprehensive approach and encourage partnership between church leaders, youth leaders, the whole congregation and health promoters. Therefore, it is important for you to talk to your local Public Health Unit at your District Health Board.
Check out PACIFIC HEALTH MODELS
In the Auckland region, there are two major health promotion projects in Pacific churches:
- Enua Ola is a community action project supporting church or community groups to establish health committees within their groups and strengthen communication networks. The aim of Enula Ola is to empower, educate and support Pacific people to lead physically active lifestyles and also to adopt healthier eating behaviours.
- The initiative is developed by the Waitemata District Health Board (WDHB) and there are currently 34 participating groups and Churches in the North Shore and West Auckland.
- Visit their facebook - https://www.facebook.com/enuaola2019/
Healthy Village Action Zones (HVAZ)
- The HVAZ is an initiative of the Auckland District Health Board with the aim to enable Pacific communities to make healthy lifestyle choices by means of collaborative action between key stakeholders (e.g. Primary Health Organisations, Pacific churches in the Auckland region) and support Pacific communities to develop their own solutions to their health priorities
- Healthy village action zones are set up within the district to support Pacific churches in setting up health committees and strengthen community networks. Parish Community Nurses are connected with primary health care organisations.
- Visit their page - http://www.adhb.govt.nz/planningandfunding/pacific%20health.htm
Applying for funding
Apart from seeking funding from your own denomination, you may consider applying for funding from charities commissions to support your projects (if your church is registered as a charity) - APPLYING FOR FUNDING
You may also talk to your local Public Health Unit for collaboration and funding opportunities.
Alcohol can be a sensitive issue in church as it links to its consequences such as intoxication, violence and sexual abuse.
Please take into account of both the biblical and religious context around alcohol
as these are the core beliefs and values of every churches.
You also need to understand and appreciate the importance of those beliefs and mission of a church.
- be culturally appropriate and holistic;
- be flexible in term of design inorder to cater for the diverse needs of Pacific ethnic groups;
- be based on the stories and narratives that are integral to the life of each Pacific community;
- have a working partnership between Pacific communities and service providers/government;
- take into account the wide range of harms created by alcohol misuse in the Pacific community;
- involve consultation with the whole Pacific community, including church and community leaders and youth.
"Alcohol is not a traditional part of the Pacific islands’ culture.
It was introduced to the Pacific by Western visitors such as whalers, traders and sailors, and rapidly adopted by Pacific men."
(Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand & Ministry of Health, 1997)
A significantly lower proportion of Pacific people drink alcohol when compared to non-Pacific people. However, those who drink do so more hazardously than non-Pacific drinkers.
In the 2018 Census, 77% of Pacific people said they were associated with a religion or a religious group. Pacific people have strong social and cultural ties with their family, churches and community. Active involvement in church protects young Pacific people from binge drinking.
Churches are a good setting to engage Pacific people in activities to enhance wellbeing.