Topic: Health

Taranaki woman named as global HIV advocate

By Renee Kahukura-Iosefa

There are 30 million people globally living with HIV.  Marama Pala from Taranaki has been named as a global advocate for HIV, representing the interest of indigenous people on the world stage.

There are over 200 Māori in New Zealand living with HIV and Marama Pala is one of them.

Pala says, “There is that concern of taking care of yourself your tinana, your wairua and making sure that you are protecting your whakapapa.”

Marama, who is a wife and a mother of two children, and for the past 20 years has been an advocate helping to bring awareness of the virus.

“We are miracles of science and medication we are able to have completely healthy children without HIV,” says Pala.

She says it's a huge honour to be an indigenous advocate for issues relating to HIV and taking this cause globally.

According to Pala, “It became my kaupapa, it became my cause.  What I found having the Māori and the HIV, it really builds a fire in my belly and I get very passionate about issues happening with indigenous people.”

In a couple of weeks, Pala sets off for her first conference of the year in America.