Pasifika Futures team leading Pacific dialogue at ANZEA Conference 2021

Sharlene Mahutoto, Data Analyst Pasifika Futures Ltd

Presenting at the biannual Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluations Association (ANZEA) Conference as part of the team at Pasifika Futures has drawn Sharlene Mahutoto closer to her work colleagues and has highlighted the importance of the work that they do to help Pacific families.

A data analyst for Pasifika Futures, the Whānau Ora commissioning agency supporting Pacific families in health, housing, educating and economic development, Sharlene and four of her team members presented at the virtual conference.  The event is part sponsored by Pasifika Futures and run by the organisation that represents evaluation practitioners in New Zealand, a role that analyses data and makes recommendations about a program to improve its effectiveness.

The purpose of her team’s presentation was to share with the participants the importance of talanoa – Pacific storytelling – and how their staff apply talanoa to build a connection with the families that they work with.

Talanoa is effective in understanding and generating solutions with Pacific families and communities in New Zealand. I’m proud that we got to share our work with everyone. The experience also strengthened the bond within our small team at Pasifika Futures.”

The three day conference started yesterday and will finish on Thursday. Other keynote speakers include Dr Seini Taufa from Moana Research and moderation from Pasifika Futures Director of Evaluations, Seini Jensen, who is also on the board of ANZEA as Co-Chair.

Sharlene says that after their presentation, many participants were curious about using talanoa in their work and she encouraged organisations to apply the cultural practise when dealing with Pasifika families.

“Talanoa is the founding principal of our work. We were able to educate people on how we build trust with our families which results in positive outcomes.”

The virtual ANZEA conference ends on Thursday, March 25. To register, visit


Date: Wednesday 24 March 2021