The Tāmaki Makaurau reverend is practising what she preaches by opening conversations in a positive way and sharing her joy at the chance to slow down during lockdown.
Reverend Setaita is director of mission resourcing within the Methodist Church. While incredibly busy working from home, she has been making the most of the lockdown in her bubble of five by using the time to really connect with her loved ones. She suggests everyone try to do the same.
“In lockdown, bond with your loved ones,” says Setaita.
Whilst at Alert Level 3, Setaita wants us to stay happy for the sake of our own wellbeing and that of others.
“When your spirit is lifted, you lift others too.”
She counts herself lucky that she can work from home and is not on the front line, as they are the ones doing it tough.
“My duty is to help ensure our front-liners get rest too. They’re the ones working tirelessly day in and day out, delivering to those in need. So I want to ensure others are well looked after.”
To stay connected with her community and other church leaders, Reverend Setaita is filling her days with Zoom calls, webinars and phone calls. Although she admits she has Zoom fatigue, she is conscious of the fact she must take time out every now and then, which she tells her fellow church leaders to do also.
“If we are not well rested, then we cannot support others,” she says.
Setaita’s online communion service recently attracted over 10,000 people. From her lounge, she took people through the online service, which has proved more popular than some of her pre-lockdown services in-person.
It is this coming together of community that is important, says the senior church leader.
“I’m all for helping people get through this difficult time in whatever way and for me it’s ‘let’s do it together because we can do it together’ and we can be there for each other so we can go the longer distance in these difficult times.”
Setaita has been an active campaigner in helping her Pasifika communities get vaccinated against COVID-19. She has been drawing on her Methodist theology in her bid to stamp out the deadly virus and ease people’s concerns, with a “mine being yours and a sense of wider togetherness”.
“We work well together in this campaign of trying to make people feel supported. And it’s about applying that because we are all in this together. ‘Your thing is mine’ and ‘what I do is I must ensure that what I do is not just for me and not just for my personal need and safety but what I do to protect myself I am also doing to protect the others’.”
“We need to ensure too that what we each do we do for the benefit of others.”
Reverend Setaita is very much aware of the racism and online hate which has been directed at her Pasifika community but she is proud of how South Auckland Pasifika communities have rallied, shown resilience and supported each other.
“There’s no better time to reach out to our Pasifika families with this way of being.”
“Remember I am here for you. Remember we are together and remember we are family.”