Introducting disability concepts with integrity into Tongan cultural context : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts (MA) in Social Policy at the School of Social and Cultural Studies, Massey University at Albany, New Zealand
The case being advanced in this thesis is that “Fakalotofale'ia,” a Tongan concept, should be adopted as a viable and supplementary practice framework for disability services support and delivery systems – within the context of the Pacific peoples of New Zealand – and most specifically for the Tongan segment of that population.
Fakalotofale'ia encompasses the holistic worldview of Tongan disabled people in terms of their cultural, physical, intellectual, socio-economic and spiritual well-being.
Research evidence has established that the participation of Tongan disabled in available disability support services in New Zealand - is low. This study examines the reasons for the problematic of this low incidence and then reaches beyond that to propose and recommend possible alternatives.
An integral part of this same exercise involves an examination of the practice of Fakalotofale'ia within the structure and values of the “Kainga,” the most primary of Pacific kinship systems, processes and relationships. Fakalotofale'ia plays the widest possible and most pervasive range of roles and functions – from everyday maintenance of peace and good order, through to actual dispute resolution and as well as exerting a curative, preventative, educational, spiritual and economic influence on a Tongan‟s life and entire social universe.
Tongans both in New Zealand and in Tonga have followed the precepts of Fakalotofale'ia – and have thereby gained a much more enlightened perspective of the reciprocal effects of the interactions between disabled people and members of the Kainga.
It is equally of significance to point out that this study had also found that in a number of cases the practice of „Fakalotofale'ia‟ has been neglected due to some disabling factors and conditions of the new environment. This has had its obvious set-back effects.
For most of the disabled people and their kainga however, the practice of „Fakalotofale'ia‟ facilitates their needs and fills in certain very critical gaps experienced under current mainstream disability support services and delivery arrangements.