Te Wānanga o Waipapa | School of Māori Studies and Pacific Studies

Applications for 2023-2024 are now closed.

Pacific Men’s Mental Health Discourse Online: A content analysis of online podcastsa and social media posts in Aotearoa


Dr Caleb Marsters


Pacific Studies

Project code: ART006

The Project

Mental health is an essential component to our overall wellbeing. Given the high levels of untreated mental disorders and high rates of suicide in our Pacific communities and especially among our Pacific men, there is an urgent need to explore how we can build upon existing solutions to better support mental health and help-seeking among men. The voices of Pacific men are rarely platformed in mainstream media and academic literature. This research aims to address this by undertaking a content analysis of mental health discourse in online podcasts and social media posts which are becoming a more popular medium for Pacific men to express their mental health views, challenges, and recovery journeys. It is aimed that this research will help to bring awareness to the discourse happening online that is not often captured by mainstream health and social services. It is hoped that collating Pacific men’s discourse around mental health online may help services to better align their delivery with the sociocultural and lived realities of Pacific men which may lead to safer and more effective treatment, healing and ‘recovery’. Building knowledge is important to future work around Pacific men’s mental health and suicide prevention. Therefore, this project will aim to provide an overview and current status of Pacific men’s mental health discourse by delving into these often overlooked but influential platforms.

Scholar’s Work and Expectations: Week 1: The scholar will undertake training in content analysis as a research method; Week 2-5: The scholar will carry out a content analysis of public social media posts and podcasts that are related to Pacific men’s mental health in Aotearoa and collate the mental health experiences and views that Pacific men express on these platforms; Week 6-10: The scholar will write up a brief report of the key findings, which will contribute to the write up of an academic journal article that will be submitted for publishing. The scholar will be the first author for this publication.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: Ability to carry out online searches (academic databases, social media websites, and online video/audio platforms such as youtube and spotify); Ability to learn how to do thematic analysis and carry out thematic analysis of the data they find; Solid critical thinking and analytic skills; Solid writing skills – able to write clearly and concisely; Interested in Pacific mental health and wellbeing.

Benefits to Scholar: There are many benefits for the summer scholar that undertakes this project. First, content analysis is a popular research method that I will be able to teach the student given my recent teaching of the PACIFIC714 Research Methods paper Semester 1 2023. This will also build upon key research skills such as critical thinking, data analysis/thematic analysis, and basic database/online research skills. Skills that will aid in preparing the scholar for postgraduate study, which will be encouraged. I have supervised several students and will look to continue to build this scholars confidence to undertake postgrad study in the Pacific health and wellbeing space during and after this project. This project will also help to provide the scholar with a deeper understanding, grasp, and appreciation of Pacific mental health and wellbeing, which is a priority research area here in Aotearoa as shown by the governments investment in this space. It is hoped that this opportunity can open pathways for the scholar to undertake further research in this priority area. Dissemination and networking skills will also be a focus of this project. I will encourage the scholar to present their findings to our postgraduate cohort here at Pacific Studies and postgrads at Pacific Health and the PECAN (Pacific early career researchers network). This will be a chance for the scholar to develop their communication skills and network with other Pacific scholars and hopefully encourage them to pursue postgrad studies and build their confidence in this space. Publishing a paper from this project is also a key aim with the scholar being first author. Lastly, I will be sure to connect this scholar with key leaders in the field such as my mentor and PhD supervisor PVCP Associate Professor Jemaima Tiatia-Siau, and Head of Pacific Health and my MPH supervisor Associate Professor Vili Nosa, and Dr Sam Manuela, among other Pacific scholars.

Alignment to Taumata Teitei: This project ultimately aligns with the faculty’s aspiration of kia whakamana i te tangata - to uphold the mana and tapu of others through our actions and relationships. I hope to support the academic skills and mana of the scholar through this project as well as bring greater understanding around an important topic in our Pacific communities – mental health and wellbeing. This topic can be challenging so a content analysis allows the potential scholar to develop their skills and understanding in this sacred space in a safe manner. This project will also work towards serving our Pacific communities by bringing the voices of our communities to the forefront of academic discussion and literature when it comes to Pacific mental health. More direct alignments include: Deepen and strengthen relationships with Māori and Pacific communities; Grow Māori and Pacific scholarship in areas of transdisciplinary priority; Invest in equity objectives and particularly the growth of the Māori and Pacific research workforce.

Melenaite’s Tongan and English Dictionary


Dr Melenaite Taumoefolau


Te Wānanga o Waipapa - Pacific Studies


Project code: ART017


I am currently writing what I hope will be a comprehensive general dictionary of Tongan. Although I have written several hundred pages of draft entries at this point there are many more words that are not yet in the dictionary. These words will be found in the Tongan Bible, books written in Tongan about Tongan history and pre-history, old Tongan dictionaries, articles about Tongan proverbs and idioms, and other kinds of Tongan literature. Entry words will have a definition in Tongan and also an English translation or explanation. If I get a Scholar, I would like them to help find words to add to the dictionary. I would like the dictionary to be completed by 2026, but earlier if possible. The dictionary will be an update on CM Churchward’s bilingual Tongan Dictionary 1959 and the national monolingual Tongan dictionary 2010.

Scholar’s Work and Expectations: The Scholar will search the literature outlined above to find more words that are not yet in the dictionary. They will make a list of these new words and alphabetise them in the Tongan alphabetical order ready to be inserted in the appropriate places in the dictionary. They will also be taught and familiarised with a typical dictionary entry, whose elements mainly consist of pronunciation and stress placement, illustrative phrase, grammatical information like part of speech, related words, and etymology. Depending on their degree of proficiency in Tongan, they may also be able to draft some entries and write some English explanation of words.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: They should be fluent or near fluent in Tongan. they should be familiar with Tongan orthography and be able to read Tongan efficiently. They should be able to do searches for books and print material in Tongan, and they should have computer skills to be able to alphabetise dictionary entries, write references. It would be an advantage if they knew aspects of Tongan linguistics and general linguistics. If they do not have Tongan language skills, they might be able to write some English definitions.

Benefits to Scholar: The Scholar will benefit from learning and applying skills of writing in Tongan and in English as well as literacy in Tongan and English. They will be steeped in Tongan cultural learning which they will learn and pick up when dealing directly with the meanings of Tongan words and expressions. They will also acquire some Tongan linguistic and cultural knowledge, and they will have some background knowledge to consider possible topics of research in postgrad studies.

Alignment to Taumata Teitei: This project relates directly to the values and principles upheld by Taumata Teitei. The Scholar and I will have the opportunity to enter into the Tongan world of indigenous knowledge and values which are cognate with principles of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, and kaitiakitanga, Tongan being a Pacific Polynesian language and a sister language of te reo. But there is also an avenue that leads to engaging with contemporary linguistic knowledge when we write about aspects of grammar that is required for entries. The project also aims at producing an output especially for community learning, and supports the learning and maintenance of endangered Pacific languages.

Transitions to Independence in New Zealand’s Pacific Empire


Dr Marcia Leenen-Young


Te Wānanga o Waipapa, Pacific Studies

Project code: ART024


This project is to support development of a manuscript on the political independence/’decolonisation’ of New Zealand’s colonies in the Pacific – Samoa 1962, the Cook Islands 1965, Nauru 1968, Niue 1974, and Tokelau (still a New Zealand territory). This project aims to shift problematic historical narrative that ignore New Zealand’s history as a colonial power and prioritise the human element of ‘decolonisation’ with the voices of Pacific peoples. It details the processes of ‘decolonisation’ for those Pacific nations and peoples in New Zealand’s Pacific empire, analysing both the distinct paths to independence walked by each nation and how these paths weave together with complex connections through and across a transnational empire. By realising the empire was an entity that spanned oceans, we can understand the complexities of these disparate but related paths, recognising New Zealand as the colonial centre of an empire. While each path leads to a distinct time and place as a moment of ‘independence’, the path is one that spans decades of negotiation, misunderstanding, and cultural tensions that culminate in so called ‘decolonisation’ and ‘independence’.

Scholar’s Work and Expectations: The scholar will have a number of possible roles, dependant on the progress of the manuscript. At this point it is envisioned that the summer scholar will collate and organise archival material to be used in each chapter. This will involve identifying gaps in records and sourcing the location(s) of the material needed to fill these gaps. It will also involve some basic library-based research. The scholar will also collect the images to be used in the final manuscript. This will involve identifying options to be used in archival repositories, accessing permission rules for the use of the images, and communicating with the repository regarding permissions. Additionally, there may also be some work on the oral history aspect of the project, which would involve transcribing and analysing oral history recordings from knowledge holders. As a supervisor, I will guide the scholar on archival treatment/references and primary source analysis, as well as the importance of approaching Pacific history observant of the Pacific values of respect and relationality, understanding the connection between Pacific peoples and their histories. The student would have the opportunity here to develop observations on the project and the process to work towards a publication.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites: This project would be ideal for someone who is interested in pursuing postgraduate study in Pacific history, especially in those countries included in New Zealand’s Pacific empire. Experience with primary source analysis or archives would be a benefit. Students with connections to Māori, Indigenous or Pacific communities are especially welcome. This project requires a scholar who focuses on the details. The ideal candidate will have strong organisation and time management skills, with an ability to work independently and use their initiative. They should be open to working closely with the supervisor, especially in the first few weeks of the project, to develop methods of historical analysis and understand historical context. The student will have a desk at Pacific Studies for the duration of their appointment.

Benefits to Scholar: The scholar as part of this project will learn about many aspects of developing a history project in Pacific Studies that centres Pacific peoples’ voices and will learn about the development of an extended manuscript for publication. They will also become familiar with archival research and have the opportunity to work closely with a number of different types of historical knowledge. Additionally, they will also have the opportunity to hear, analyse and discuss oral histories gathered from knowledge holders on the process and realities of independence from New Zealand’s colonial empire. The scholar will also benefit from being part of a small and supportive academic department where they can spend time getting to know staff and postgraduate students. This experience will provide an opportunity to network with postgraduate students and explore the potential of future study.

Alignment to Taumata Teitei: This project aligns to Taumata Teitei’s focus on Aotearoa as part of the Pacific region. This project focuses on the relationship between Aotearoa and the Pacific, engaging with Pacific values and will work to highlight Pacific peoples in history. These aims are in line with Research and Innovation, Priority 1: World-class research inspired by our place in Aotearoa and the Pacific. Additionally, this project aims to foster significant opportunity for the scholar to conduct research at a high level which aligns with Education and Student Experience, Priority 1: Accessible, equitable lifelong higher education opportunities. This project will be underpinned by key values evident in Ō Tātou Mātāpono; in particular, Manaakitanga, Tauhi Vā and Ako. This speaks to the supportive, connected environment this scholar would enter in Pacific Studies. It also speaks to the relationship building and reciprocal relationship that will be fostered between the supervisor and scholar.