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Riz Firestone Tevita Funaki Sally Dalhousie Akarere Henry Mereaumate Vano Jacqui Grey Andrew Jull Robyn Whittaker Lisa Te Morenga Cliona Ni Mhurchu


Understanding the key determinants of health from a community perspective is essential to address and improve the health and wellbeing of its members.  This qualitative study aimed to explore and better understand New Zealand-based Pasifika communities’ sociocultural experiences and knowledge of health and wellbeing. Fifty-seven participants were involved in six separate focus groups. Community coordinators co-facilitated and transcribed the discussions and conducted thematic analysis. The findings suggested two overarching themes: (1) ‘Pasifika experiences on poor health and well-being’: were based on sub-themes: (i) ‘recognisable issues’ (e.g., poor diet and lifestyle behaviours); (ii) ‘systemic issues’ that support the perpetual health issues (e.g., lack of knowledge and education) and; (iii) ‘profound issues’ that are often unspoken of and create long-term barriers (e.g., cultural lifestyle and responsibilities).  (2) ‘Hopes and dreams’ to improve health and well-being requires: (i) a family-centric approach to health; (ii) tackling systemic barriers; and (iii) addressing community social justice issues.  This study provides deepened insights on Pasifika communities’ understanding healthier living in the context of their cultural environment and family responsibilities. If we are to develop effective, sustainable programmes that prioritises health and well-being based on the needs of Pasifika communities, the findings from this study highlight their needs as step forward in overcoming barriers to healthier lives.

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Original Research

How to Cite

Identifying and overcoming barriers to healthier lives. (2018). Pacific Health Dialog, 21(2), 54-66.