Pacific webishop May 24 2023 resized

Webishop to focus on spirituality and wellbeing

HPF’s next webishop Pacific Health Promotion – The ‘Lotu’ factor in Health, Healing and Wholeness will focus on the role of the Church, faith, religion, and spirituality in health promotion, healing, and wellbeing of Pasifika peoples. 

At the webishop, which will be free to our valued members only, you’ll get to hear from and interact with an awesome  panel of experts on spirituality, and its relationship to health and wellbeing. 

Aotearoa NZ is home to over 380,000 Pasifika people, which is more than 8% of our total population.  The Pacific communities are slowly growing and stretching from the main cities and into our smaller centres and rural towns. They share ancestry with Māori, have taken up arms in warfare alongside NZ soldiers, and have supported the NZ workforce and economy. 

In order to better serve their health needs in ways that maintain mana to their cultural practices, we must grow our understanding and knowledge of Pacific communities. 

Essential to this is understanding the significance of spiritual faith and the Church in the lives of many Pacific Islanders, both in their Pacific Island homes and around the world.  It is not just a place to go to for worship, but also for social occasions. 

Our panel of experts will discuss just how significant the impact of worship and prayer is to Pacific peoples. They will focus on spirituality as a component of health promotion, and the efforts for this to be recognised. 

Webishop facililtator HPF’s Deputy Executive Director (Pacific Health Promotion) Dr Viliami Puloka says the Church provides a familiar sense of security and community. 

In partnership with health promotion, says Dr Puloka, the church can turn prevention into a tool for healing - of body, mind and soul.

‘Church is in the business of caring, and it can help lead the way with approaches to removing the burden of preventable sickness and death,’ he explains. 

‘This webishop will discuss church as a place of health education and health promotion: a place of practical action; a place for advocacy and a place of empowerment.’ 

Key topics include:

Spirituality and Pacific Health Promotion

The Lotu factor – how this influences wholeness and healing

Engaging with Pacific communities

The influence of the church in Pacific Health Promotion

The World Council of Churches and the World Health Organisation 

* We will be announcing more details on our other speakers shortly.




Dr Viliami Puloka is HPF’s Deputy Executive Director (Pacific Health Promotion). Dr Puloka is a Research Fellow in the Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit at the University of Otago. He also heads the International Network of Indigenous Health Promotion Professionals (INIHPP) with the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE). 

The Rev Dr Jione Havea is a native pastor (Methodist Church in Tonga).

The Rev Dr Jione Havea is also a research fellow with Trinity Theological College (Aotearoa) and Centre for Religion Ethics and Society (Charles Sturt University, Australia), as well as a lecturer in biblical studies with Sia’atoutai Theological College (Tonga). 

He works at the intersection of native cultures, scriptures, critical theories, and religions and is also the author of a number of books including: Islands, Islanders and  the Bible: Ruminations; Jonah: An Earth Bible Commentary and Sea of Readings: The Bible in the South Pacific. See more HERE.

The Rev Faifekau Tevita Finau is a church minister at the Mount Hermon Methodist Tongan Congregation in Auckland, and a strong community advocate for health, education, culture and social welfare.

In 2016 Rev Finau was awarded the QSM for his tireless and dedicated service to the Tongan community.

He’s also passionate about the development of youth and the community at large through sport, choir and brass bands. This is depicted in his role as Rev Pita and father of the main character Maka in the recently released movie, Red, White and Brass, originally written and co-produced by his son Halaifonua Finau. Read more HERE.

Rev Finau was also the presbyter for the Wellington Tongan Methodist congregation during the Rugby World Cup in 2011.


$49 incl GST for non-members. Not a member yet, click HERE. 

PLEASE NOTE* HPF members must email Emma Frost at for a special code before registering.