26 Oct 2020

Researchers find upside in tough year for Pacific workers

11:34 am on 26 October 2020

Unemployed tourism workers in the Pacific have enjoyed a reconnection with their culture during the pandemic shutdown and are hoping this continues when life returns to normal.

Thousands of workers across the Pacific have lost their jobs amid the global shutdown and turned to traditional farming and fishing practices.

Dr Api Movono

Dr Api Movono Photo: Massey University

Research by Massey University showed their experiences had shown an upside to a very difficult year.

Senior lecturer in development studies, Dr Api Movono, said Pacific Islanders had a long history of being innovative and resourceful and having this embedded in their way of life had provided the safety net to "allow them to sustain their families, relearn the skills of food production, gardening, farming, fishing.

"We have actually noticed that people have gained in terms of their well-being, with participants in our studies and those who were interviewed really coming out and saying , 'this is what we miss. This is what we want more of.'"

Movono said people were asked if they re-imagined their working life after Covid-19 ends.

"People are saying, yes, we will have to return to our jobs, because we need the money to pay for our bills, school fees etcetera, but at the same time they are reflecting on how this should be done, with one particular group of respondents saying that tourism must complement their way of life and not overtake everything else."