RSE workers' programme "very important to us", Samoan prime minister tells Hastings leaders

The health and wellbeing of RSE workers was the topic of discussion during Samoan Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa’s visit to Hastings today.

Talalelei Taufale, Hawke’s Bay DHB Pacific Health Manager spoke at the ceremony, held at Hastings event venue Toitoi.

After thanking Hastings District Council Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst and CEO To’osavili Nigel Bickle for their collective response supporting RSE workers’ health, Mr Taufale highlighted some of the DHB’s work to support RSE workers.

“The RSE workers can access the flu vaccination for free through Pacific communities and our outreach,” Mr Taufale said.

“Acute health needs for RSE are not going away and we continue to work together to provide the best solutions,” he said.

The DHB was working with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to shape the health and wellbeing framework for RSE to pilot in Hawke’s Bay.

"We are looking forward to that.

“The Ministry of Health has also formed a national RSE health and wellbeing working group that I, and Dr Simon Baker of our public health team at the DHB are a part of.”

Mr Taufale thanked the Samoan Prime Minister for coming to Hawke’s Bay.

“Your visit has been uplifting and empowering for us all, and in turn I hope that we have provided an assurance that though our collective efforts the health and wellbeing of Samoa RSE is in good hands. We wish you well in your travels and the rest of your trip.”

Samoan Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa also spoke, thanking Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst for the support that has been offered to the RSE workers.

“I hope that the RSE workers from Samoa here not only benefit in terms of their employment, but also that they are able to meet the needs of their employers and they are able to contribute in other ways to the community here,” she said.

“We were able to meet with some of them, and they were able to convey in the short time we were able to meet that they have been happy.”

“There seems to be some concern that our new government will hasten to change the RSE programme. I can assure you that this programme is very important to us.”

Also present, Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst noted that she and the Samoan prime minister had two things in common: they were both wearing red and were both first female leaders in their roles – “You for prime minister of Samoa and me for Hastings mayor and 145 years of first female mayor.”

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