‘I wonder how healers and doctors can collaborate for all our benefit’

(Poltorak-The Healer and the Psychiatrist)

‘The failure to translate western concepts of mental health and illness into Pacific holistic world views and visa versa results in disconnected discourses both for the Pacific community and for Pacific health workers within mental health services.’

(Southwick 2007: 23).

[This page is still in development]

This page presents ways that the documentary film and interactive website can be of practical value and have positive impact in six areas that correspond to the six posts of Pouono. The six areas are in part responses to feedback to the final film, most particularly our screening in Mangere Arts Centre which you can see on the final button on Project Pouono- ‘The Value of the Documentary’.

(1) Talanoa– Hufanga Dr ‘Okusitino Mahina and Vea Mafile’o identified the need for more talanoa or discussion. Project Pouono and screenings are creating the possibilities of more talanoa.

  • The BYU and UH talanoa on the 5th November 2020 can be accessed here. The need for more collaboration was emphasised by many participants.
  • Our screenings page lists all the screenings and events associated with the film. Posts on particular screenings and events will be a resource for those using the film.
  • The talanoa after the Tongan premiere of the film on TBC (on the 19th December 2020) was broadcast to the whole of Tongatapu and is accessible online.

(2) Accessibility and Action– We will collaborate with Tonga and New Zealand based NGOs who will be able to use the film for current and new projects. Royalties from the VOD and low priced access to the film will benefit those NGOs using the documentary.

  • The documentary has been free to view in Tonga since the TV screening on the 19th December 2020.

(3) Inspiration and connection to other initiatives-the aim is to draw on and compliment other health and faith based initiatives such as already formulated Tongan models of health and social media based initiatives such as Ordinary Tongan Lives.

(4) Creating global connection and dialogue -Through Project Pouono and our collaborations and use of the film for teaching and training of health practitioners we hope to facilitate global conversations that connect positive practices and inspirations globally.

(5) Radical action-Tuku Fonua was a radical act of the time.

The BYU produced documentary-Tuku Fonua: The Land Given to God– contextualises the importance of Tuku Fonua in relation to the present.

What radical acts in the current time would bring health benefits, particularly to those most in need? How can be bring those in prison and in institutional care into talanoa, to support their healing and improve care for all?

One example of  inspiring and radical action that will bring lasting benefits to Pacific Island communities in New Zealand is the Petition of Makahokovalu Pailate for Pacific Leadership Forum: Provide pathways for overstayers to gain permanent residency in NZ on compassion. The video below presents the hearing of evidence on the 12 August 2021, which in itself was the result of remarkable community mobilisation.

(6) Sixth Post– the focus of the sixth post needs to emerge in talanoa and longer term discussion of what the documentary reveals.

We consider Aotearoa to be a vital location for the development of these actions for the reasons detailed on the main final background video on Project Pouono. The shores of Aotearoa are a powerful metaphor to explore these possibilities.

Here is a list of Tongan cultural interventions that create more dialogue and present Tongan cultural position to contribute to issues in Aotearoa and wider:


Please share below your thoughts and experiences and talanoa on our dedicated facebook group.