Healthy Relationship Programme Development

In response to calls from parents and community leaders, Shama is creating a healthy relationships programme for ethnic young people. We know our young people need strong community networks and have specific family relationships and obligations. We want to address and celebrate ethnic family relationships and community dynamics as part of healthy relationships – it’s not all about romantic relationships.

To develop our programme, we have two key ways to ensure our ethnic communities guide us in developing appropriate resources alongside Pāyal. 

Our first step is setting up two advisory groups to help us develop the programme – one for Ethnic Young People and one for Ethnic Parents and Caregivers. We define “ethnic” as anyone in Aotearoa New Zealand who identifies their ethnicity as Middle Eastern, Latin American, African, Asian, and Continental European.


Advisory Group 1: Ethnic Young People – open to all genders 

You will be aged 16-25 years old and bring interest in community building. You will be paid for attending five two hour zoom sessions at the rate of $100 for each session.


Advisory Group 2: Ethnic Parents and Caregivers – open to all genders

You will be interested in how we support, in holistic ways, ethnic children and young people to flourish in the Aotearoa New Zealand context. You will have lived experience of parenting or caregiving. You will be paid for attending five two hour zoom sessions at the rate of $100 for each session.

To be a member of either advisory group, you must:

  • Have lived experience of being an ethnic person living in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Attend five two hour zoom sessions (total 10 hours) between May and September 2022 with Shama and other advisory group members. These sessions will focus on developing and testing a suitable framework for our healthy relationships programme
  • Understand and value ethnic and cultural differences, and other differences including but not restricted to class, faith, disability, gender and sexuality 
  • Be able to demonstrate respect for the perspectives of other group members even when they may not align with your own, and be willing to engage knowing these conversations may not be comfortable at times
  • Be interested in developing a healthy relationships programme which will be culturally responsive to the diverse ethnic communities in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Support the key values to underpin sexual violence prevention identified in Connections! 2019 by ethnic community members 


We want to create a programme that fits the needs to ethnic young people in Aotearoa New Zealand. If you’re an ethnic youth aged 16-25, one way you can have input into the development of this programme is by taking the survey below. We’re open to hearing from you in a way that suits you (email, call, text, WhatsApp) and together we’ll find a way for you to have a say.

If you’re an ethnic person living in Aotearoa New Zealand who
wants to share their experience to support the development of this programme
please get in touch with Pāyal at or 022 033 5129. Our experiences matter and we’d really value your input. Anything you share with us will guide us in creating this programme together.

Kia ora koutou katoa, my name is Pāyal, and I am the Healthy Relationships Programme Coordinator at Shama.
I care very much about people and the planet, and I absolutely love my job. I am Indo-Fijian/Fiji Indian born in Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington, where I live now. I am a disabled person, a queer person (I use they/them pronouns), and I experience mental distress. I am a delightfully strange human - I’m very excitable, joyful and passionate. I’m grateful I am at a stage of life where I love who I am. I couldn’t have gotten here without the support of my friends! It’s been quite the journey, and I’m really proud of who I am today.
Swimming is one of my favourite things in the whole world, and I can often be found in the harbour or various pools around Wellington.

At Connections! 2019, ethnic communities identified gaps in culturally responsive healthy relationships programmes for ethnic young people in Aotearoa New Zealand, and key values that must underpin such programmes.  Ethnic young people need strong networks of community around them to mitigate social marginalization, and addressing and celebrating ethnic family relationship and community dynamics are part of healthy relationships for ethnic young people – it’s not all about romantic relationships. 

Shama wants to work with ethnic young people and parents and caregivers to develop a holistic healthy relationships programme to meet these needs. 

Key values identified in Connections!

  • Education – to increase availability of information for all community members
  • Respect – to develop respect for different gender, cultural and religious identities, develop respect in relationships and what it truly means to respect others as human
  • Openness – to establish processes for addressing violence or issues within communities
  • Acceptance – to grow acceptance for all community members to address stigma and collective community shame, including around disclosing violence or talking about sex
  • Justice – is highly valued as a restorative process for communities to challenge dominance and create fair community dynamics

  • Communication – strengthening the value and practice of talking about difficult topics enables protective conversations within relationships, families and communities

  • Healthy physical contact – many communities value healthy physical contact within families to strengthen social bonds. Intercultural dialogue allows us to explicitly explore and check boundaries rather than make assumptions

  • Culturally oriented communications/practice – positive valuing of ‘normal’ cultural values 

  • Human rights – extending education about awareness of rights in the context of violence

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