Congratulations to Christchurch East Priest Fr Paulo Filoialii, who was recognised in the New Year Honours earlier this year. Fr Paulo was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to the Pacific Community.
In 2012 Fr Paulo was recognised for his kindness, service, and heroism during and following the Canterbury Earthquakes, and has been a magnificent supporter of the Pasifika Community throughout the city and our Diocese.
Fr Paulo was the first Pasifika Priest ordained in Rome in 1990 and Samoan Mass was celebrated for the first time in the Vatican at his ordination, resulting in Pope John Paul II decreeing that the Samoan Mass could now be celebrated anywhere in the world.
Fr Paulo is the first Samoan and Pasifika Priest to serve on the Board of Etu Pasifika, an agency which provides a range of services for families including mental health, addictions, and smoking cessation services. He engages with the Samoa Victim Support Group in Samoa and is currently the Deputy Chair of the Fraternity of Samoan Ministers in Canterbury.
Fr Paulo is the current Chaplain for the Christchurch Women’s and Men’s Prison, providing support to victims and perpetrators at Court and through spiritual counseling.
During the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Fr Paulo helped coordinate the provision of resources such as food and petrol to needy families.