Fakaalofa ahi atu!
On Wednesday 7 September, Te Tumu welcomed our newest staff member, Dr Jess Pasisi, who is of Niuean descent, as well as Pākehā, Ngāti Pikiao and Tahitian roots.
This was also an opportunity to welcome and acknowledge Maioha Watson (Ngāti Maniapoto) who has been doing an excellent job teaching MAOR308 this semester.
The pōwhiri followed tikanga Māori, but also incorporated Pacific elements as well, with Niuean speeches and a performance by our Pacific coordinator Telesia Kalavite alongside Tongan students, as well as Pacific food for the hākari. Special thanks must also go to Maioha, the kaikōrero for the manuhiri, Neihana Matiu who spoke for the tangata whenua, and Kare Tipa who had held waiata classes for staff, and who kept us to tikanga.
Jess is currently finishing off a Health Research Council funded postdoctoral studies on Niuean wellbeing and happiness that she started while at the University of Waikato. She also has research interests in climate change in the Pacific, and the Pacific countries that make up the New Zealand realm (Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau).
Some Waikato postgraduate students and staff came with Jess to hand her over to Te Tumu. Dunedin-based people may well remember Marcelle Wharerau, who worked and studied in Te Tumu, gaining an MA in Indigenous Development. After the pōwhiri, these guests attended a ‘conversation’ organised by Dr Emma Powell, together with a number of Te Tumu staff. Everyone had some time to share their research and discuss some of their experiences within academia.
Te Tumu is very pleased to have Jess joining our Pacific Islands Studies team, and look forward to what she can bring us. Fakaaue lahi!