‘It’s important that our voices are heard’

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The Eastern Porirua Community Survey is an opportunity for locals to have their voices heard in shaping their future. Six community members share their views on what it means to grow a thriving eastern Porirua.

For Livi Finau, eastern Porirua has been home for 50 years. Originally from Samoa, he and his family now “belong to the land” here.

“My children and grandchildren – and now my great grandchildren – were born on this whenua. They all belong here,” he says.

Strong bonds across generations are partly why he believes everyone with a connection to the area should participate in the Eastern Porirua Community Survey. Origins like his family’s, he says, are a familiar story across the many cultures that make up his community.

“We may have migrated from all different parts of the world, but we need to understand our kids need to have an identity. And that’s why I believe all residents should fill in this survey,” he says.

“We’ll only improve or lift the standard of living in Porirua if we all work together.”

Livi is one of five Kāinga Ora Community Researchers from a range of backgrounds who are here to help and encourage eastern Porirua locals to have their say in the area’s growth and future.

The survey will run every four years, beginning in February 2024 and remaining open until 8 March.

Alongside Livi, Mikaera Penese, Eirenei Vailaau-Ah Kuoi, Husam Alfarhoodi and Netti Rawiri are all out in our community to make it as easy as possible for people to complete the survey. All share a strong connection to eastern Porirua and the many cultures that contribute to its rich local identity.

“My hopes for the future of eastern Porirua are for us to keep our diversity, to keep our culture,” says Netti.

“I'm doing this because it's important that our voices are heard.”

For Mikaera, it’s all about representing the younger generation.

“One thing that I do love about eastern Porirua is that our young people are really loud and proud about where we come from,” Mikaera says.

“We're proud to be who we are, so I think that I'll be taking the survey to make sure that our voices remain heard.”

And for Eirenei, this survey means protecting and enhancing what she already loves about her home.

“This project has so many positive outcomes that it hopes to achieve for people in Porirua, and those include quality education, business development, thriving young people and really strong cultural and spiritual support for our communities,” she says.

“The feeling of community in Porirua is very unique. It's very special. I don't think you’ll find it anywhere else in the world. So we want to be able to retain that.”

With a strong connection to the Arab community, Husam believes everyone sharing their views together will mean “the better the outcomes will be”.

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