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Monthly Archives: March 2023

Wonderful achievement for Te Tumu PhD candidate

PhD Candidate Wanda Ieremia-Allan at the Tagaloa Scholarship Awards [Ministry of Education].

Te Tumu PhD candidate Wanda Ieremia-Allan is now bound to the UK on a University of Cambridge fellowship to research the historical legacy of the Samoan periodical, O Le Sulu Samoa, a newspaper that has been active for 184 years.

Otago’s Bulletin Board wrote a great article on Wanda’s achievement and the background of her interest in this newspaper. Click here to read more.

Te Tumu Seminar: transcending low levels of literacy and numeracy for Pacific people.

Maulupeivao Dr Betty Ofe-Grant

Maulupeivao Dr Betty Ofe-Grant is a lecturer from Auckland University of Technology Business School, researching Pacific peoples’ issues in labour migration, careers, glass ceilings, diversity, gender, intersectionality, literacy and numeracy and work. She is also the acting Vice President for the National Council of Women, New Zealand, and a matai (Samoan chief).

Dr Ofe-Grant will be presenting a seminar in R3S10 (3rd floor of Te Tumu) at 3pm on Thursday 16 March.
This will also be available on Zoom:

Meeting ID: 912 3557 5122
Password: 959841
Everyone is welcome to attend.

Pacific people in New Zealand are among the most disadvantaged ethnic groups who over-represent the adult working-age population with low literacy and numeracy skills. Individuals with low literacy and numeracy tend to experience higher levels of marginalisation, vulnerability, cycles of poverty and significant risks of poor health and well-being.

As part of a five-year mixed method nationwide study led by the New Zealand Work Research Institute, this paper examines the barriers and enablers to transcend low levels of literacy and numeracy for Pacific people. Utilising qualitative focus group discussions founded on Teu le va (relational spaces) and semi-structured Talanoa (storytelling) from 230 Pacific participants, we find that multiple barriers exist at the macro (societal), meso (organisational, schools and training institutions) and micro (individual) levels alongside cultural and familial factors that perpetuated and sustained low literacy and numeracy skills.

Tikaka in action

Tēnā rā koutou, Ni sa bula vinaka, Mālō e lelei, Talofa lava, Kia orana, Fakaalofa lahi atu.

On Friday 24 February Te Tumu welcomed two new staff members, Professor Patrick Vakaoti who is our new Dean and member of the Pacific Islands Studies team, and Dr Wahineata Smith, who is joining our Māori Studies team.  A pōwhiri was held at Te Tumu following the tikaka o Kāi Tahu, the mana whenua.  We are lucky to have Kare Tipa as one of our staff members who can guide us through the kawa. A big mihi too to everyone involved in the organisation of the event, especially the rika wera from the Office of Māori Development who served the delicious hāngī for lunch.  After lunch there was an opportunity for people to informally speak on behalf of the two new staff.  Te Tumu staff also presented a koha to Dr Emma Powell, who has just started her maternity leave.

Patrick is a well seasoned sociologist with an interest in Pacific youth, both those who are marginalised and disaffected, but also youth leadership and civic engagement.  Currently, he is contemplating research that critically looks at the interface between the University and the aspirations of indigenous students, academics and the community.

Wahineata was once a student at Te Tumu, starting 21 years ago.  She completed her PhD at AUT, and is returning to research after being part of the university’s schools liaison team.  She is contemplating undertaking research in into families with dual and multiple ethnicities, including aspects of identity and mental wellbeing and the choice of the language[s] in their homes.

We are very lucky to have these two new additions to our staff.

Below are photos, courtesy of Keilah Fox, and Jess Pasisi. Click on images to enlarge.

Kare Tipa was kaikaraka for the tākata whenua.

Rauhina Scott-Fyfe responded to the call as kaikaraka for the manuhiri. Wahineata Smith is adorned with the korowai.

Kiringaua Cassidy delivered the whaikōrero on behalf of Te Tumu.

Teteira Rawiri (Tainui-Waikato) delivered a whaikōrero on behalf of Wahineata.

It was great to hear the Fijian language was used within the tikaka of the pōwhiri. Eric Nabalagi spoke on behalf of Patrick.

Due to Covid precautions, the elbow bump was utilised in place of the customary hongi. In the foreground, Patrick Vakaoti and Allison Finnegan bump elbows.

Sia Lei-Mata’afa, Miriam Tomasi, Viola Huch, Kristy Walker and friend.

Iris Wainiqolo (Health Science) with staff from Pacific Trust Otago

Centre front, Finau Taungapeau (PTO), Tamete Teweti (PIC) and friend. Left flank: Neil Vallelly; right flank, Kare Tipa.

Johnny Nu’u, Iva Vakalalabure, John, and Sakiusa Baleivanualala.

Te Tumu staff and friends entertain people as they line up for their food.

Patrick Vakaoti converses with Telesia Kalavite, the Coordinator of Pacific Islands Studies, and Tofilau Nina Kilifi-Alai, Otago’s Pacific Community Engagement Manager in Auckland.

Marea Colombo, Sharlene Silcock and Cath Gilbert.

Rafa Mishra-Vakaoti, enjoying the kai.


Success for Te Tumu Postgrad

On Wednesday evening, 22nd February, one of our fabulous doctoral candidates, Wanda Ieremia-Allan, was awarded the Tagaloa Scholarship prize. In its second year of running, the Tagaloa Scholarship is awarded to four Pacific masters and doctoral students who are able to “demonstrate that their studies aim improve the social, economic and wellbeing of [the] Pacific, through a Pacific holistic worldview”. Wanda, who recently transferred to Te Tumu from Waikato, is in her final year of doctoral research in Pacific Studies. She is completing cutting-edge research on the impact of Sāmoan missionary newspaper O Le Sulu Samoa and its far-reaching impacts throughout the Pacific. Wanda is being supervised by University of British Columbia Professor Alice Te Punga Somerville, Otago alumni and current Director of USP’s Samoa Campus, To’oto’oleaava Dr. Fanaafi Aiono-Le Tagaloa, and Dr Jess Pasisi here in Te Tumu.