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Pacific strategy – This is us (Staff)

The Ministry has connected with more than 300 Pacific staff to understand from their perspectives what they considered MSD was doing well, the things that the Ministry needed to do better and what a ‘Ministry that cares for Pacific people’ actually looks like. Our people were upfront and open and what they had to say was heartfelt and genuine. This is a summary of what we heard.

We asked you

What you liked about the Ministry

You said that it was great that our organisation was actually looking to put a Pacific strategy and action plan in place. You also said it was good that your colleagues didn’t mind you speaking in your own language at work and that you were able to celebrate your culture around them. You told us that you were aware there are opportunities to further your personal development (such as secondments to work in other areas of the organisation and further study). However, you said that secondments were at manger’s discretion and that they were not always supported due manager’s being unable to find suitable back-fill. That said, you thought that the establishment of a Pacific-specific advisor role and a Pacific team were positive steps to improve overall Pacific presence (especially given a high number of our clients identify as Pacific). You appreciate it when we recognise and celebrate your achievements outside of the Ministry.

What you didn’t like about the Ministry

You raised concerns about not being consulted with when initiatives were being developed or when opinions on new initiatives were being sought. You sometimes felt that you were ‘after-thoughts’ and included at the last minute purely as a ‘tick-box’ exercise. You said that we didn’t really acknowledge the diversity of Pacific Island cultures, too often we ‘lumped’ every culture together under the single banner of Pacific, even though there are differences. You also told us that you felt there was a lack of cultural empathy and understanding by some managers in other words, support from managers for you to meet any cultural obligations that you had was inconsistent across sites and regions. You said that our contracts with providers were rigid and didn’t always allow for the flexibility you needed to enable them to deliver high quality services to Pacific clients.

We also asked you what we needed to focus on to do better for our Pacific people - You told us:

Focus area 1: Organisational Capability

  • Pacific cultural competency needs to be improved throughout MSD and some of you have the skills and knowledge to help.
  • There needs to be more career development pathways available for Pacific staff, with on-going coaching and mentoring support.
  • MSD information should be available in multiple Pacific languages to assist you in being able to communicate and share information with your Pacific clients.
  • You felt intimidated when opportunities to apply for promotions came up, sometimes you didn’t put your name forward even though you were interested in the role.
  • Our leadership and management teams need to recognise and acknowledge your values and cultural practices.

You want us to up skill you and enhance your cultural awareness and understanding skills and those of your non-Pacific colleagues.

Focus area 2: Well-Being

  • You don’t always have access to up-to-date resources that help you to do your work.
  • You are overworked and from a front-line perspective worried about job security whenever new innovations are rolled out.
  • You sometimes feel undervalued and that we don’t always recognise your leadership abilities.

You want us to do things that will support your health and well-being both inside and outside of work.

Focus area 3: Partnerships

  • We are not very good at keeping you up to date of changes that occur throughout the Ministry.
  • We don’t know what other organisations and agencies are doing and because of this we often duplicate services.
  • We need more Pacific-specific providers whose services respond to a diverse range of needs.
  • Internal communication which keeps us up-to-date on each other’s activities.
  • We don’t engage or network well with Pacific communities.
  • Some of you don’t even know who our Pacific providers are.

You want us to focus on establishing genuine relationships with Pacific people and communities.

Focus area 3: Digital Technology

  • The current IT systems and applications we have don’t cater for all Pacific people in particular older generations.
  • There doesn’t seem to have been any investment in digital platforms for Pacific related services.
  • Any new products or services we develop should consider the requirements of our Pacific people.
  • Education and training on new products and services needs to be consistent throughout the Ministry.

You want us to be using innovative technology to engage and communicate better with our people.

A little bit about yourselves

You hold a variety of different positions in MSD – you are:

  • Administrators
  • Advisors
  • Analysts
  • Contact centre reps
  • Case managers
  • Senior managers
  • Support workers
  • Team Leaders.

You connected with us via Fono and Talanoa in:

  • Auckland
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch

Your cultures were wonderfully diverse – you are:

  • Cook Island
  • Fijian
  • Niuean
  • Samoan
  • Tokelauan
  • Tongan
  • Tuvaluan.
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