Skip to main content

First Air Pasifika Fono

A celebration of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) Pasifika community has taken place at RNZAF Base Woodbourne, with the first ever Air Pasifika Fono.

17 October, 2023

Corporal Dennis Tommy, from the Air Pasifika Fono planning committee, said last week (11-13 October) more than 40 personnel participated in what will be a bi-annual event.

“The Fono is about our people coming together, working together and moving forward together.

“We really hope to grow our Pasifika people networks by maintaining our sense of Pasifika community and cultural connection,” he said

Currently Pasifika people make up 2.9 percent of the RNZAF, and 4.6 percent of the overall New Zealand Defence Force. In the NZDF, 5.4 percent of the Regular Force and three percent of the Reserve Force  are Pasifika.

The Fono included workshops discussing Pasifika identity in the RNZAF, Pasifika sports and games, preparing a traditional umu and meals, a fiafia night with traditional performances from the local Marlborough Nav Pasifika community group and a panel of motivational speakers.

20231012 NZDF R1055669 051 20231012 NZDF R1055669 062 20231012 NZDF R1055669 070

Royal New Zealand Air Force’s Air Pasifika Fono

The event is part of the RNZAF’s efforts to achieve goals outlined in the NZDF Strategic Plan 2019-2025: Operationalising Strategy 25, and a vehicle by which the RNZAF Pasifika community can support the Chief of Air Force in achieving outputs.

“The plan is to use our employee-led Pasifika initiatives to echo our military strategic plan, reflecting evolutions in government defence policy. It highlights the importance of the Pacific to New Zealand’s national security. It really emphasises integration, acting as ‘one force’ while valuing diversity of skill, thought, and function,” CPL Tommy said.

“The Pacific Islands are made up of many nations and cultures but it is through our ‘common culture and likeness’ that makes Pasifika unique. 

“We are creating an environment where we can come together as Pasifika people, to engage, collaborate and navigate to what Air Pasifika can become moving forward.  Hopefully we are making small steps in the right direction in continuing to support our Pasifika personnel within the RNZAF,” he said.

20231012 NZDF R1055669 074 20231012 NZDF R1055669 087 20231011 NZDF R1055669 014

Royal New Zealand Air Force’s Air Pasifika Fono