Pacific Island Trust supports community like its own family

Every week, 15 staff members of Pacific Island Community Trust Bay of Plenty (PICT) work tirelessly to provide services to their families throughout Tauranga, Western Bay of Plenty, and the wider Bay of Plenty region. Services cover social services, and health and wellbeing services.

With services from Mobile Nursing Service, Outpatient and Support Service, Community Support Workers, Pasifika Playgroup, Whanau Ora Programmes, and Community Development Assistance. PICT aim for their programmes, education workshops and support to create pathways for people to thrive.

Operating since May 2008, PICT has grown from only servicing Tauranga to the entire Bay of Plenty as the needs of its community grew. With more Pasifika families moving to the Bay of Plenty to better their lives, common social issues and cost of living have still negatively impacted many, resulting in PICT’s support being required.

All services are free, and when a family approaches PICT for support for one issue, the PICT team will always ensure they see if there are any other areas, they can assist in.

Esther Martin, Chief Executive Officer of PICT, says that PICT will always be a wrap-around service to provide families with whatever service they need.

“We tell families what each service can do for them and what else they can get assistance with that they may not have known about.”

“We often have people being quite shocked at the range of services we offer and extremely thankful when they hear what else they can be supported with,” says Martin, “Whether a big or small issue, when families learn of the support they can receive, we always see a weight lifted, and some relief and hope appear on their faces.”

Food and accommodation costs are the most common issues PICT faces from families who seek support. With Pasifika families often consisting of more than five or six members, PICT focuses on remedying the initial needs and finding the pathway to allow each family to thrive.

Their Whanau Ora Programme is extremely important as it is a family-centred programme focused on achieving a family’s goals and aspirations. Based on health, socio-economic, finance and cultural leadership.

Working with PICT’s Whanau Ora Navigator, families create a realistic plan for their goal and attend workshops that cover budgeting, home ownership, IRD for business, Money Mates, and meet with Mortgage Brokers or learn about the process of building a start-up business.

“Workshops such as Money Mates focus on our families achieving financial goals. It can be paying off debt, or how they can achieve home ownership or starting a business.”

“We want them to be confident in their decisions, educated and doing the best for themselves and their families so they are independent and thriving,” says Martin.

The Pasifika community is family focused, with family coming first, even when there is no relation.

This, along with the community being so small in the Bay of Plenty, benefits PICT as one person can quietly mention to PICT that they know others who could benefit from their support or programmes.

It is understandable why some families are nervous about seeking PICT’s help, and it requires others to point PICT in their direction. PICT will follow up whenever this happens by checking in with families and seeing what they can do.

Mark Arundel, TECT Trustee says that TECT wants a thriving, caring and connected community in the Western Bay of Plenty and aims to effectively distribute funds for the long-term benefit of the community we serve.

Recently, TECT funded PICT $30,000 for operating costs so they can focus on the work they do for their community.

“PICT are doing outstanding work to help Pasifika families thrive. They bring their joy and passion into their work and aim to provide everything possible to ensure others within their community thrive in all aspects of life,” says Arundel.  

With open arms and actions coming from a good place, the PICT team aim to provide their families with the best support possible. If they cannot assist in an area, they will contact other providers and services to get a family what they need.

While they continue to support their community, they are expanding their efforts into a pilot pastoral care programme alongside the North Island Mussel Factories. This programme can potentially be a new form of income for PICT and assist them in their long-term goal of one day providing a Pasifika Health Centre Hub. Being the main directory and providing their community with support for all health and social issues.

To learn more about Pacific Island Community Trust Bay of Plenty head to their website, or their Facebook Page.


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