The two-day conference, which is being held at Wiri Prision in South Auckland, began yesterday (CI time).
Buchanan said she had been asked to talk about Punanga Tauturu’s work and to share a Cook Island perspective on family violence issues, and regarded being invited to attend the conference as a great privilege.
She planned to outline what was working well for the centre, what it was doing differently and some of the challenges the organisation was experiencing on Rarotonga.
“I am relaxed about it, and even got myself a pe’e from the great orator Makiuti Tongia from my Kaena tribal roots.
“Friendship House is very similar to Punanga Tauturu’s work in working with families affected by family violence, in providing support and raising awareness, (but with) probably three to four times the resources of PTI.
“The conference will be interesting as it will be based in the Wiri Prison. Lucky for me I have clearance to enter this place, which has tight security rules.”
Buchanan is one of 10 guest speakers and will take the stage alongside the likes of New Zealand Minister of Pacific Island Affairs Carmel Sepuloni, representatives of the New Zealand Police and Australian delegates and others.
The face of Punanga Tauturu Inc for some years, Rebeka is experienced in travelling as part of her work and has previously attended training sessions in New Zealand. She has also travelled to Fiji a number of times to visit the Fiji Women’s Centre where she has trained and learned new skills, as well as becoming well versed in the different approaches used in family counselling work around the Pacific.
Last week Denney said he was excited Buchanan was able to attend the conference, adding she was sure she would meet some wonderful delegates that would become firm contacts and support her work.
Her speech, which has to be restricted to 15 minutes due to prison rules, will be followed by a short question and answer session.