Te Poutoko Ora a Kiwa

Learn more about the research projects offered under our office.

Transnational Leadership in the Pacific Islands Project

In the Pacific, leadership research on political leaders is well-established. However, the leadership journey of regional leaders – particularly those involved with the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) – is less understood. The Transnational Leadership in the Pacific Islands Project examines and explores the personal journey and stories of regional Pacific leaders. Specifically, we seek to understand their pathways in and through leadership roles, their motivations and intentions, and the ways they juggle local and international obligations. This project will further provide understanding and contribute to current research around leadership in the Pacific region and provide important findings to help steer the next generation of Pacific leaders.

This project is funded by the Developmental Leadership Programme (DLP).

Noncommunicable Disease 2021+ Activity Design Project

The Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) 2021+ Activity Design Project aims to provide Pacific Island countries with an understanding of how to better manage NCDs in their country. The main project outcome will be to develop an activity design and business case that provides options and recommendations for a multi-year activity to prevent and better manage NCDs in the Pacific for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

The project is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

Building Pacific Youth Resilience Project

The Building Pacific Youth Resiliency Project aims to understand the available evidence, research and projects on youth resilience in the Pacific Islands, specifically in Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga and New Zealand. This Project will provide a better understanding of what knowledge and evidence are available in the public domain, insight into knowledge gaps and what best practice looks like when engaging Pacific youth in research and policymaking.

This project is funded by the Lancet Countdown and UCL.


Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) towards COVID-19 among Pacific communities living in Aotearoa.

The KAP towards Covid-19 among Pacific communities in Aotearoa is Health Research Council (HRC) – funded research project that commenced in November 2021 from the Office of the Associate Dean for Pacific led by Associate Professor Collin Tukuitonga.

The research team is working in partnership with Pacific clinical leaders and an Advisory Group with community, Church and Pacific media networks and Pacific health providers to guide the research. Using a mixed-method approach, the research aims are to produce greater understanding of how diverse Pacific groups manage the risk of COVID-19 and access and use health promotion, prevention and clinical services, to explore in depth the barriers and enablers to services, and to develop implementable recommendations that will improve health policy for infectious diseases surveillance, prevention and control, and service delivery. This research is split into three phases:

Phase One

The first phase is a cross sectional study with Pacific people in the Auckland region using a structured, standardised questionnaire with both closed and open-ended questions based on Knowledge Attitudes and Practices survey methods.

Phase Two

The second phase is a Talanoa-interview study with a subset of 40 participants. Interviews will explore in depth issues that emerge from the survey and identify the barriers and enablers to access services.

Phase Three

The third phase of this initiative will develop implementable recommendations for policy and practice with respect to COVID-19 and other infectious diseases surveillance, prevention and control for Pacific people in Aotearoa New Zealand.  

This project is funded by the New Zealand Health Research Council (HRC).

Pacific COVID-19 Intelligence Gathering and Analysis Project

The Pacific Covid-19 Intelligence Gathering and Analysis project is funded by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and led by Associate Professor Collin Tukuitonga. The overall objectives of this project are two-fold:

  1. To provide quantitative and qualitative intelligence for the Ministry of Health on the impacts of the Covid-19 outbreaks for Pacific peoples in New Zealand since 28 February 2020 to inform robust planning responses to prevent further outbreaks of Covid-19 or future outbreaks of other infectious diseases.
  2. To coordinate community leaders and sector stakeholders to advise, share learnings and disseminate research findings in collaboration with the project team.

The overall study design adopts a mixed-methods methodology. In parallel with yielding Pacific community consultation intelligence, both quantitative and qualitative research methods will be applied to address study objectives.

This project seeks participants who are:

  • Of Pacific ethnicity
  • Tested positive for Covid-19
  • Received treatment and recovery support in Aotearoa New Zealand

The project also engages community and cultural leaders through the Advisory group.

Further, MoH quantitative data will be explored regarding Pacific cases of Covid-19. The study aims to provide insights for pandemic preparedness, ensuring equitable outcomes for Pacific communities and will inform policy, systems change and service delivery.

This project is funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Health.