Pacific Families, Disability, and Whānau Ora Research #2

“Pacific disabled peoples and their families can live in their home and take part in their community in the same way other New Zealanders do” (Vision, Faiva Ora, Ministry of Health, 2010, p.3).

Pacific People’s experience of disability

In 2008 a report was published by the Ministry of Health on Pacific People’s experience of disability, as a background paper for the review of the Pacific Health and Disability Action Plan. It provides an overview of the prevalence of disability among Pacific peoples in New Zealand, and the disability supports and services that are available to families. It is noted, for example, that copared with non-Pacific children “Pacific children have higher rates of deafness and asthma” (p.vii).

The report also tackles the issue of discrimination by challenging “the notion that disabilities are linked to divine punishment” (p.24).

“Some disabled Pacific people and their families may experience discrimination. Positive family and community attitudes to disability, and community support for families and individuals with disabilities, need to be encouraged and developed” (p.vii).

Disabilities and decent work in the Pacific The case for disability inclusive employment.

In 2012 the International Labour Organization published Disabilities and decent work in the Pacific: The case for disability inclusive employment. Information provided by the report includes:

  • “…there could be some 800,000 Pacific Island people living with disabilities” (p.8).
  • “Pacific Islanders with disabilities, compared with their fellow countrymen and women without disabilities, have massively restricted life choices and opportunities” (p.8)
  • “Women with disabilities encounter added layers of discrimination as…they are considered incapable of participating in and contributing to community life” (p.8).

The ILO has begun to work with people in the Pacific on disability inclusive paid work agenda.

Disability at a Glance 2012

The United Nations ESCAP (Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) report, Disability at a Glance 2012: Strengthening the evidence base in Asia and the Pacific, “highlights the complexity of interpreting disability data and stresses the urgent need to work towards a greater common understanding of disability, related data and data collection practices” (p.iii).

The report includes New Zealand disability data as well as data from many Pacific nations.

Contributed by: Fiona Cram

Community Research


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