“Moana Connect hosted the first ever Pacific Child Wellbeing Conference in Auckland recently, where they launched the Tamaiti o le Moana 2033 report. I took part in a breakout session about cochlear implants, how it intersects with d/Deafness, and how The Hearing House navigates this space with our Pacific children.
As a Samoan Tokelauan Audiologist, I introduced myself and my Pacific cultural identity, acknowledging the importance of knowing who you are, to being well. I then introduced The Hearing House’s mission – to foster a community of support to empower those who are d/Deaf and/or hard of hearing, together with their whānau, to explore their best potential, and make informed choices on their journey.
A total of 13% of our paediatric clients are Pacific, of whom most identify as either Samoan (42%), Tongan (26%), or Cook Islands Maori (16%). This is fairly consistent with the breakdown of Pacific ethnicities in the total New Zealand population.
In Pulotu-Endemanns (2010) Fonofale model (Pacific health model), culture is seen as the roof of the house and family as the foundation. For our CI children, they navigate daily how to be Pacific which is the culture passed down from their family, but they also navigate being deaf which is usually something that they and their family have to learn.
The conference called us to connect and celebrate our culture. Being a part of it allowed us to start the conversation with other providers about the incredible d/Deaf and hard of hearing children we get to work with every day. Moving forward, we hope to continue the conversation in collaboration with other organisations to better support our children.”
- Latasi Koro, audiologist, The Hearing House