History of the Tongan Nurses Association of New Zealand
The Tongan Nurses Association (TNA NZ) was initiated by Dr Leopino Foliaki and a group of Tongan registered nurses who migrated to New Zealand in the late
seventies and early eighties. At the time Dr Foliaki was employed by the Medical and Social Welfare, Auckland Regional Health Board. Through his work, he identified the need for Tongan nurses to help their community, as a result he approached some of the Tongan nurses to ascertain what they could do to help the Tongan community in Auckland. Dr Foliaki and 26 Tongan registered nurses met for the first time on Saturday 21st July 1984. He chaired the meeting for the Tongan nurses and discussed the following issues:
1. To establish the Tongan Nurses Association
2. Bridging course for Pacific nurses to register in New Zealand
3. The Pacific Advisory Health Committee to identify available Pacific skilled nurses
4. Election of a working committee
5. To develop a constitution
6. Study Day for nurses to update nursing and health information
This meeting appointed the following office holders for the association.
President ‘Atiola Fifita
Assistant Fa Nisa ‘Aholelei
Secretary Pisila ‘Aholelei
Assistant ‘Alisi Tameifuna
Treasurer Ika Tonga Vea
Assistant Kioko MeArdel
The founding members of the Tongan nurses association also included Liu Uatahausi, Vake Kupu, ‘Olivia Hala, Fifita Taione, Kelela Taufa, and Leha Clark.
Over the years, the Tongan Nurses Association had initiated and implemented programmes to assist Tongan nurses and the delivery of healthcare services to the Tongan community, particularly in the Auckland region.
Nursing Study Days
Among the first initiatives of the association was to organize Nursing Study Days. Guest speakers from the nurse training institutions were invited to talk about the new bridging course and other nursing issues. The speakers included Ms Elizabeth Will, Nurse Advisor, Ministry of Health, Wellington; Ms Jan Grant Principal Tutor, Manukau Technical Institute; Ms Janet Davidson, Education Advisor, Department of Education, Wellington. Study days were carried out with
varying focuses depending on the nurses’ needs, as well as attending the nursing bridging course offered by the Manukau Technical Institute.
Over the next few years, various meetings of the associations were held sporadically. Other issues which were focuses of discussion included translations and interpreting services, appropriate cultural issues, relationship with the Tongan Nursing Association of Tonga, equipment assistance to Vaiola hospital in Tonga, assistance for student nurses in New Zealand, and more nursing training opportunities for Tongan nurses. During the 1990s the association held many fundraising activities to fund its operation, which included a ball.
In 1997, the Tongan Nurses Association celebrated its 13th anniversary at the Vaine Mo‘onia Methodist Church on Saturday 26th June. This service was led by Rev Taniela Moala. The association invited three guest speakers. They were Dr Leopino Foliaki, who spoke on the development of the Tongan Nurses Association. Mele Vailanu and Violani Wills were the other guest speakers.
By 1998 the association at its annual general meeting elected the following office bearers:
President Violani Wills
Vice President ‘Eseta Finau
Secretary Ika Tonga Vea
Assistant Susi Tameifuna
Treasurer Lavili ‘Ahokovi
Assistant Siu Palu
Social Coordinators Ma’u Kakala ‘Ofa and Tina Fakalata
Education Coordinator Violani Wills
In the same year a group of Tongan nurses attended the South Pacific Nurses Forum held in Tonga. The nurses also presented papers at this conference.
Support for Tongan Nurses
The association funded Susi Tameifuna to attend the Smear Taker course. It also funded four nurses to undertake the Practice Nursing Course at Manukau Institute of Technology. They were Lavili ‘Ahokovi, Ikatonga Vea, Susifina Tameifuna, and ‘Eseta Finau. Support of Tongan nurses seeking registration and employment in New Zealand were offered in terms of personal support and the preparation of their curriculum vitae.
Backbone in the Development of Langimalie Clinic
Tongan nurses provided the backbone for the development of the Tongan Health Society, particularly in the development of its Langimalie Clinic in 1997. Members of the Tongan Nurses Association provided voluntary practice nursing work for 6 months for Langimalie Clinic in its first year of operation. The association donated a television and video equipment for the Langimalie Clinic to show health programs in the waiting room. They also donated a microwave for the clinic staff and the association has become a regular sponsor of the Langimalie clinic annual charity ball. Members of the association are considered the backbone at providing nursing work at Langimalie PHO. The board of the Tongan Health Society has supported the association by providing room for its use at the Langimalie Clinic.
Registration of the Association
The year 2000 saw some significant progresses in the development of the association. The association was formally registered as Tongan Nurse Association of New Zealand Incorporated on the 22nd of December 2000. The association also appointed Kaifonua Tupouniua as its first Patron. The same year saw members of the association attending the South Pacific Forum held in Brisbane, Australia.
Aims and Objectives
- To identify Tongan Nurses within New Zealand in order to encourage, create and expand a network
- To provide support and assistance to Tongan Nurses in gaining New Zealand registration (students or overseas nurses), in pursuing further education and achieving optimum standards of nursing
- To promote and encourage the nursing profession as a career for Tongans
- To encourage and promote the use of the Tongan language and culture among their nurses
- To achieve recognition as a professional organization and to have a voice in health-related issues and policy-making at all levels.
- To maintain an effective communication between the Tongan community and Health Services
- To ensure culturally sensitive delivery of health care to the Tongan community
- To foster a good relationship with the New Zealand Nurses Organization, the Maori Nurses Association and other nurses associations.
In 2002 Sione Vaka, registered nurse attended the South Pacific Nurses Conference in Vanuatu on behalf of the Tongan Nurses Association. He also presented a paper on Mental Health from a Tongan perspective.
Violani Wills and the Tongan Nurses in Wellington hosted the 18th anniversary celebration in October 2002. About 24 nurses from Auckland traveled to Wellington for the celebration. The theme for this conference was ‘Fetokoni‘aki’ – Collaboration. The service was led by Rev Samiuela Taufa. Two guest speakers for the day were Dr ‘Ana Hau‘alofa‘ia Koloto and Valeti Finau. This celebration helped raise the profile of Tongan nurses within the Wellington Tongan community.
In 2002 the Tongan Nurses Association responded to the request from the Samoan Nurses Association to contribute to the National Survey of Pacific nurses and nursing students. A few members were involved with the Pacific Nurses National Survey as researchers and advisors. This provided opportunities for the Tongan nurses to assist the Samoan Nurses Association with this initiative and also allowed six Tongan nurses and one nursing student to train as researchers.
Source: Koloto (2003) National Survey of Pacific Nurses & Nursing Students.
Since then, the following activities have taken place:
2003: Celebrate TNA’s Day at the Methodist Church, Onehunga
2004: TNA started talking working on a proposal to the Ministry of Health
to support TNA’s activities.
2005 Successful with the proposal, MOH granted Pacific Provider
Development Fund as part of the Pacific Professional Organization.
2006 First Tongan Health Professionals Conference by TNANZ 21Oct 06
Theme; Cultural Democracy: A Tongan Framework for Service
Delivery in a Multicultural Society – Ko e tau’ataina ‘a e taha kotoa
pe ke ne ngaue’aki e anga fakafonua ‘o ‘ikai filifilimanako.
2007 2nd Tongan Health Professionals Conference – 6th October 2007
Theme: Health: Social, Physical and Spiritual Wellbeing – Ko e
Mo’ui Lelei: Napangapangamalie e Sino, ‘Atamai mo e Laumalie.
Supported International English Language Test course for 43
Tongan nurses to gain New Zealand Registered nurse status.
2008 Conducted Study Day for TNA financial members, guest speakers
From NZNO Margaret Cane and Dr Viliami Tutone
TNA held its First Annual Ball, October 2008
SPNF Conference – 6-10 October 2008, Suva, Fiji.
TNA representative were Lataisia Uili and ‘Eseta Finau
2009 TNA Study Day- 31st January 2009, guest speakers included MOH Dr Api Talemaitoga and NZNO Margaret Cane
2nd Study Day – 4th April 2009 – Guest Speaker Lita Foliaki
TNA Health Day – 28th May 2009 at the Tongan community Glen
2nd TNA Ball 3rd October 2009
Proposed TNA and other professional groups to work together with
PMA on activities agreed by the groups.
2010 Upcoming First International Conference of Tongan Nurses –
10-14th March 2020, at the Fa’onelua Convention Centre,