A Wellbeing Report - Voices from Pacific Women and Girls in Aotearoa, New Zealand

A Wellbeing Report Voices from Pacific Women and …
01 Nov 3023


Pacific Allied (Women’s) Council Inspires Faith Ideals Concerning All Incorporated (PACIFICA) was established in 1976 by Pacific women living in Aotearoa New Zealand during the tail end of the Dawn Raids, so that they could speak with one voice and be recognised as a force working for a more positive involvement of Pacific peoples in New Zealand society.

This report sought to understand factors contributing to Pacific women’s wellbeing through a mixed methods approach. This report drew on past literature to gauge how Pacific peoples are portrayed in data and research, specifically Pacific women.

Historically, data collected about Pacific peoples often focused on the inequities and disparities they face. Statistics suggest that Pacific peoples are more likely to experience poverty than other New Zealanders, as reflected in employment, income, wealth and housing statistics. Although we were ‘counted’, our Pacific context/voices were void.

The catalyst for an online survey was PACIFICA’s desire to present its record of Pacific women and girls’ voices in 2023, understanding the challenges they face and factors supporting them in Aotearoa New Zealand.


The catalyst for an online survey was PACIFICA’s desire to present its record of Pacific women and girls’ voices in 2023, understanding the challenges they face and factors supporting them in Aotearoa New Zealand. One hundred and seventy-three Pacific women across the country participated, providing unique responses relevant to their experiences.

PACIFICA used the information from the survey to enter into conversations about how we continue to strengthen our women and organisation. This report presents some feedback received and thoughts on what can be achieved to support Pacific women and families in Aotearoa New Zealand and our current PACIFICA members.

Key Results


The challenges faced by Pacific women, as told by PACIFICA members, were broken down into three categories:

1. Clash of cultures: Pacific women often struggle with navigating between the Western environment they find themselves in and their cultural values and obligations. This was more common among those who identified as multi-ethnic and who were New Zealand-born.

2. Intersectionality: biases they face being Pacific (brown) and female. Pacific women drew on examples like the wage gap and felt like they had to work twice as hard because of the current societal biases.

3. Socioeconomic hardship: Pacific women are aware of the socioeconomic inequities concerning ethnicity and these challenges for Pacific communities.

These three overarching themes above have a negative impact on the perceived wellbeing of the Pacific women in the survey.


Through this report, Pacific women also drew on their strengths, which keep them resilient despite these inequities. They included:

1. The importance of cultural identity: The connection to language, culture and identity is featured in this report. Women confident in their personal, cultural and professional tūranga felt better equipped to navigate different spaces and were aware of how they could use their skills and knowledge to benefit the collective.

2. Pacific representation and role models: Seeing Pacific women succeeding across different disciplines made the aspirations of others seem attainable. The Pacific women who participated in the survey acknowledged the glass ceilings shattered by the previous generations and the importance of being vocal to ensure a seat at the decision-making table.

3. Developing Pacific leadership: Organisations like PACIFICA allow for fostering and developing leadership that enables Pacific women to participate nationally, Pacific-wide and globally. We see Pacific women leaders across sectors, and their leadership is premised on knowledge and skills.

Hopes for the future

Pacific women’s aspirations for the future include:

1. Having safe spaces/platforms to share and learn: Providing safe spaces and platforms for Pacific women and girls to share their experiences and speak out about the biases they experience will help raise awareness of what they
experience, and how they come up with solutions, to contribute to overall wellbeing.

2. An allocated seat at the decision-making table: Pacific women are aware that to create real, meaningful change and they need a seat at the decision-making table, whether this means having a quota system or purposely recruiting
Pacific peoples where Pacific communities are involved. This would ensure true advocacy of issues relevant to our Pacific communities.

3. Strength in the collective: PACIFICA provides opportunities for Pacific women to unite, learn and develop leadership skills across various disciplines. Aspirations for the future include the continuation of coming together as a collective to empower one another.

4. Greater access to mentoring, resources and funding: Drawing on the skillsets of those within the collective to provide mentoring, and to apply for funding that will allow for the resourcing of initiatives that are important for Pacific women. This will help appeal to a greater number of Pacific women with various needs.

Page last modified: 05 Mar 2024