4 Mar 2011

Locating Pacific people in quake-hit Christchurch a challenge

4:49 pm on 4 March 2011

The chief executive of New Zealand's Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs says getting help to Pacific people in quake-hit Christchurch is complicated by the fact that they tend to fend for themselves.

Dr Colin Tukuitonga says there've been reports of Pacific families complaining that they've not had the same access to services such as food vouchers as people in other sectors of the community.

But he says the ministry team is doing all it can to make help available.

"We're aware for example of families who're hosting two or three other families without water, that's the thing and particulary for the young ones who are at risk of health problems and that's the concern was really to make sure that we can get as many of these people connected somewhow but the challenge for us is that they tend to stay with other family rather than go through to the established centres."

Dr Colin Tukuitonga says ministry liaison with Pacific churches in Christchurch is a critical avenue for making sure people get the help they need.