Pasifika Insight

The concept of the Va – the space that relates, is commonly known across the Pacific. 

The va is about the relationships that exist not only between people but also the environment, the context, faith and ancestors.  

As youth workers, understanding the va you have with a young person would provide a more holistic perspective. To truly understand the va of a young person is to operate from a place of transparency and honesty. The relationship you have as a youth worker with a young person requires you to be genuine – because we all know that young people have a bull$#!t radar and they know when you are not being honest or when you are all hype!

The space of boundaries and confidentiality offers the safety element in the va. This can often be challenging for youth workers when approached by family member(s) of a young person seeking information or being a youth worker in a small town where ‘everyone knows everyone.’ The va of boundaries and confidentiality as a youth worker is not something you set only with the young person, but being aware that this young person also has a va with others. This will require the youth worker to carefully navigate how to hold the extended va of others as well as being aware of when they are out of their depth and may need support.  

As a youth worker, to foster the va is to respectfully understand and uphold the sacred space and balance of relationships.