The Sub Regional Pacific Strategic Health Group was established in 2011 to assist the 3 DHBs in our region (Capital & Coast, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa) by providing high level strategic advice to the Boards regarding Pacific Health issues and solutions. The group meets every second month. Its aims are to:

  • inform the DHB of the issues and barriers that are impacting on Pacific Health such as access and utilisation of health services
  • strengthen the relationship and rebuilding trust between the DHBs and Pacific communities
  • provide an in-house monitoring role for the health outcomes for Pacific people in both areas
  • follow up decisions made by the Board of Governance regarding Pacific
  • provide appropriate Pacific cultural advice.



  • Fa'amatuainu Tino Pereira Chairperson

    Mr Pereira currently the managing director of his company Niu Vision Group. Mr Pereira continues to play leadership roles across Pacific Island communities. These roles touch on core dimensions of Pacific Island community life, social, economic, ecumenical and demographic. He has been involved in many forums raising and developing critical issues affecting Pacific and wider health sector. He has over 20 years of chairmanship and participation in many public sector and community organisations. Mr Pereira currently holds the chairmanship for the Pasefika Healthy Home Trust, Ministry of Social Development Pacific Advisory Forum, Pacific Business Trust, Council of Pacific Collectives, and Pacific Panel for Vulnerable Children and Central Pacific Trust.
  • Reverend Tavita Filemoni

    Mr Filemoni has strong links with Pacific communities, particularly with the Wellington Region Samoa Council of Ministers, community leaders and secretary of the Wellington Samoan Ministers Fratenal. These will be instrumental in linking in with Pacific people who attend Pacific churches.
  • Dr Sunia Folaki

    Dr Foliaki has worked as a research officer with the Centre for Public Health Research at Massey University since 2002 and has been involved in health research and review of various aspects of New Zealand health topics and issues. Dr Foliaki’s PHD research was on the prevalence of asthma amongst Pacific people in Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau. He is the Regional Coordinator for the Oceania International study of asthma and allergies. Dr Foliaki’s is chairperson of the Tongan Cancer Society, as well as a member of the Tongan church and community, social activities.
  • Dr Margaret Southwick

    Dr Margaret Southwick received the Queen's Service Medal on 25 March 2009 for services to the Pacific Islands community. Dr Southwick has been involved with the health of the Pacific Islands community in Wellington for many years. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Pacific Health Research Centre and School of Pacific Health Education at the Whitireia Community Polytechnic. She is the lead researcher for Searching for Pacific Solutions: a Community-Based Joint Intervention Project of the Ministry of Health, the Health Research Council, the Alcohol Advisory Council and ACC. She is a member of the Pacific Research Advisory Committee and the Health Workforce Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Health. Dr Southwick is a councillor of the New Zealand Nursing Council, where she helped to develop the Making Waves Pacific Community Sexual Health Trainers Programme.

  • Dr Alvin Mitikulena

    Dr Alvin Mitikulena is a Director of the Kilbirnie Medical Centre. He is of Niuean and Samoan descent. Dr Mitikulena is an active member of the Pacific community. The Kilbirnie Medical Centre were recent winners of the Clinical Excellence Award based on patient initiative pilot based on Cardiovascular Risk Assessment for high needs patients.
  • Sandhaya (Sandy) Bhawan

    Sandy was born and raised in Fiji and is a fourth generation Fiji Indian who now resides in Te Awakairangi (the Hutt Valley) with her husband and two children. She is the Principal Adviser for the Access Equity team at PHARMAC Te Pātaka Whaioranga, the pharmaceutical Management agency for New Zealand. In this role she gives effect to PHARMAC’s bold goal of eliminate inequities in access to medicines, and is the lead author of PHARMAC’s recent publication Achieving medicine access equity in Aotearoa: towards a theory of change. In her current role Sandy is also providing quality improvement advice and support to the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s Whakakotahi 2019 medicine access equity projects.
  • Te Hau Winitiana

    Te Hau is a performing artist, dance teacher and choreographer of Pacific dance. She is currently the director and co-creator of Pacifit Group Limited as well as the Artistic Director of Inano Dance Company and School. Te Hau is a qualified group fitness instructor who delivers Community group fitness program Hula Active. This dance based group fitness class has been delivered to Lower Hutt and Porirua communities since 2013.

    In 2015, Te Hau was the Cook Islands dance tutor for the KIWI DANCE programme offering Cook Islands dance and Siva Samoa workshops in high Schools and tertiary institutions. Te Hau completed a Bachelor of Applied Arts in performing arts from Whitireia NZ. Te Hau has toured extensively performing nationally and internationally during her six year career as a performing artist and choreographer.
  • Pati Umanga

    Pati Umaga is a disability advocate and the current chair of the National Enabling Good Lives Leadership Group. He is the Immediate Past President for the Disabled Persons Assembly, a member of the Health and Disability Commissioners Consumer Advisory Group and sits on a number of boards and advisory groups involved with the UNCRPD, NZDS and the Disability Action Plan. He is passionate in advocating for all people with disabilities and has a particular interest in working with the Pasefika disabled community and leadership. He is also a musician and in 2015 received an Arts Access Leadership Award for the release of his music video SIVA (Dance).
  • Merivi Tiai

    Merivi Tiai is a youth representative on the Sub Regional Pacific Strategy Advisory Group. She graduated from the University of Otago in 2016 with qualifications in physical education and public health. Merivi is inspired by a Samoan proverb “O le ala I le pule o le tautua” – “The path to leadership is through service”. She views this role as an opportunity to serve her community with a focus on youth. Merivi hopes her contribution will positively impact on the status of Pacific health and wellbeing, particularly for young people throughout the wider Wellington region.
  • Kalo Kaisa

    Kalo Kaisa is of Tongan descent. She is a Presbyter of Hutt City Uniting Congregations, Lower Hutt. She previously ministered at Mangere-Otahuhu, South Auckland Methodist multi-cultural parish for 6 years. Kalo is involved with Wellington Tongan Leaders Council and works together with Tongan Ministers of different denominations.
  • Adi Elisapeci Samanunu Waqanivala

    Elisapeci Waqanivala is currently Managing Director of Grow Vuna Initiatives Limited, which researches indigenous knowledge in the Pacific using her home District as a case model. Elisapeci serves as Deputy Chair for Wellington Pacific Leaders Forum. She chairs the Fijian Language Society and works as an interpreter for Interpreting New Zealand.

    Elisapeci serves as a board member with Interpreting New Zealand and does Fijian Language translation works. She has successfully completed her Masters in Strategic Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, with a specific focus on Political Science and International Relations. Elisapeci Is a professional member for Royal New Zealand Society. Her major interests include understanding health data, in particular ensuring ethnicity classifications and statistics of Pacific Peoples in Aotearoa are designed and captured accurately.

Ex officio members include:

  • Fionnagh Dougan, Chief Executive Officer, CCDHB & HVDHB
  • Dale Oliff, Chief Executive Officer, HVDHB
  • Matafanua Hilda Fa’asalele, Ministry of Health Chief Advisor, Pacific
  • Junior Ulu, Director Pacific People’s Health CCDHB & HVDHB.
Last updated 30 January 2023.