29 April 2021
Le Mana Pasifika Project hosts celebration of culture and community
On Saturday 24 April, CMY’s Le Mana (Empower) Pasifika Project hosted a vibrant City of Casey Pasifika Community Gala Dinner, with over 100 guests in attendance.
The event was a celebration of culture and community for our Pasifika communities in Melbourne’s South East. Guests were welcomed to country by Boon Wurrung elder N’arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM and Wurundjeri elder Uncle Ringo Terrick, followed by a traditional Ava welcome ceremony from the Melbourne Samoan Methodist Church Youth Group. The gala also featured high-energy performances from the Niue, Cook Islands, Fijian and Tongan communities.
Among the speakers were the Hon. Natalie Hutchins MP, Minister for Corrections, Crime Prevention, Youth Justice and Victim Support; Carmel Guerra, CMY CEO; Temese Leilua, CMY’s Program Development Leader for the Le Mana Pasifika Project; and James Henry, Chair of the United Pasifika Council of Victoria.
The event was the culmination of the Casey Pasifika Community Youth Justice Consultations, carried out by CMY’s Le Mana Pasifika Project with support from the Victorian Government. The consultations were part of the government’s work to develop a new approach to crime prevention that supports community-identified and led initiatives to address the key drivers of crime.
A summary report was released at the event, which highlighted that despite Pasifika young people being overrepresented in our justice system for more than two decades, until now little investment had been made in working directly with communities to understand contributing factors and generate solutions. Read the summary report.
“We know the best models to reach out to young people at risk is through their own communities – that’s why we are here,” noted the Hon. Natalie Hutchins MP.
“This community consultation (with CMY’s Le Mana team) has given us insight to the needs of community and how to empower young people … we are changing lives and we will turn the statistics around.”
As part of the project, CMY’s Le Mana team hosted more than 20 conversations with young people, parents, workers, and elders and leaders from the Pasifika community in Casey, to understand what they see as the key drivers of youth disengagement and offending, and where investment and action is urgently needed.
CMY CEO Carmel Guerra congratulated the Pasifika community for coming together and driving changes for young people in the justice system, saying:
“We know your voices have not been heard by government, but we hope from today through this work your voices will be heard.”
Temese Leilua, CMY’s Program Development Leader for the Le Mana Pasifika Project, said the summary and full reports were tools “to help guide ongoing discussions with our communities, providing important insights to inform future work that we hope to see change and reform current support systems.”
“We must invest now in a collective approach to strengthen the village that will raise the child.”
Read more about the Casey Pasifika Community Youth Justice Consultations in the summary report available here.