Published Monday 20 Dec 2021

Capital & Coast DHB’s Celebrating Success Volunteer of the Year winner Siaosi Anamani has become a stalwart of Porirua’s Pasifika community tackling the tough health statistics within the area.

‘Making a difference’ and ‘it’s all about the people’ are two mottos that drive Siaosi Anamani to get out of bed every morning.

At only 37, Siaosi has made a massive impact on his community through his voluntary work. That work includes coordinating events and navigating challenging social and health problems to support vulnerable young people in Porirua colleges; and facilitating a Porirua walking group called  ‘Walking Samoans’.

He led the group’s first walk in February 2018, encouraging a crowd of over 70 people ageing from four year-olds to 70plus year olds.

He said he was taken aback with his nomination and award and called it the ‘icing on the cake’ after a very tough year.

“To be honest I was really surprised because I didn’t even know I was nominated. To be fair we don’t do these things for recognition, but I can say I am very humbled and grateful to be acknowledged alongside many other recipients. It’s kind of like the icing on the cake to receive this award because it’s been a tough year for everyone. So it has been a bittersweet feeling to receive this award.”

Siaosi said Porirua had some challenges when it came to positive health outcomes and is motivated to see that change.

“It’s about the people. I just want to support our whānau to do well, to live well, `and have quality of life. We’re represented on the wrong side of health statistics, so we’re just really passionate about making a positive change, to learn and walk alongside people, young and old, to understand their stories – that’s the big driver for me.”

What Siaosi does for his community goes beyond your regular nine to five job, but he insists he loves it – and has his family’s full support.

“It does take away time from my own family, however, I’m very blessed to have a family that supports and joins me in some of these initiatives as well, especially with the walking. “It’s one thing to serve outward, but it’s just as important to show that with my wife and kids and there are so many benefits to that.”

He’s now looking to build more leaders to carry on the good work he and others have done once their time is up.

“There will be a time when won’t be able to continue to do this, so it is important to find opportunities to hand this on to others who are passionate about supporting our people.”

“I just want to acknowledge my colleagues for the nomination and everyone that has helped me to do what I do. It would be unfair to say I did it alone because it did it with family and friends and they gave up their time to help others have quality of life.”