The annual PASHANZ face-to-face meeting was held before the NZSHS 2014 Conference, on the 10 and 11 of September at the IBIS Hotel, Hamilton. The day and a half meeting provided the opportunity for twenty-four sexual health promoters from throughout the country to network with each other, and share their workplace experiences.
The meeting began with a welcome from Te Ahurei a Rangatahi kaumatua, followed by introductions and updates from attending organisations, and a site visit to Te Ahurei a Rangatahi premises. The visit enabled delegates to see first-hand the services and support that are provided by Te Ahurei a Rangatahi, and hear some of the success stories from the communities they serve. The site visit was followed by delegates from Family Planning who gave a presentation about the challenges and successes of delivering sexuality education in schools in the Waikato region.
The second day began with a group discussion regarding social media and its role in sexual health promotion. Most delegates reported their organisations utilise social media (mainly Facebook) as a medium to engage with young people. They reported that social media provides an opportunity to communicate with their target audiences and deliver messages effectively. Nevertheless, delegates spoke about the need for consent when using photographs, pamphlets and posters online, and the importance of safe and appropriate public engagement.
A delegate from the Auckland Sexual Health Services shared some of her findings from a recent university assignment about pornography. Her discussion focussed on pornography as a source of student misinformation; in particular the failure of pornography to deliver accurate information about the importance of safer sex, consensual sex, or respectful gender roles and responsibilities.
PASHANZ delegates were pleased to be joined by Ngaire Sandel, Portfolio Manager, Ministry of Health, and Jo Elvidge, the newly appointed Principal Advisor for sexual and reproductive health for the Ministry. Ngaire drew delegate’s attention to ‘youth health’ which is now a service priority area, and she talked about results-based accountability which will be a feature of new contracts and existing health contracts as these are renegotiated.
A delegate from Te Puawai Tapu introduced her new project called ‘Best practice sexual and reproductive health guidelines when working with Maori’. Over the next three months, sexual health promoters will be invited to discuss their experience of what makes for successful sexual health promotion when working with Maori.
The 2014 meeting concluded with discussion about PASHANZ: in particular, promoting PASHANZ via the SHopp Newsletter, PASHANZ becoming a legal entity, alternatives to tele-hui (i.e., Skype or Video conferences), and strengthening the relationship between PASHANZ and the NZSHS. Delegates thanked Jonathan Selu, National Coordinator for PASHANZ, for a successful year’s operation!
Te Puāwai Tapu Trust