Pacific and Pasifika Theses

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The theses listed in this collection were all completed at Massey University in a range of different departments and institutes. They have been included in this collection if the topic is strongly related to Pasifika/the Pacific.


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Now showing 1 - 10 of 264
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    Tongan indigenous approaches in the prevention and restoration of family violence : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
    (Massey University, 2023) Havea (née Taufa), Sesimani
    Substantive literature exists on intimate partner violence and the efficacy of various response programmes. There is only limited knowledge of Pacific-indigenous understandings of and responses to violence within the kainga (families). This thesis explores aspects of the inaugural application of the Tongan conceptual framework of Fofola e fala ka e talanoa e kainga (laying out the mat so families can dialogue) as part of the faith-based Kainga Tu’umalie (prosperous families) family violence intervention and prevention programme in Aotearoa New Zealand. The programme is centred around weekend retreats involving Tongan households experiencing family violence. I was culturally immersed in observing, actively engaging in, and evaluating this programme during the retreats that involved 49 Tongan church kainga (families). Additionally, formal talanoa (a Pacific-indigenous way of engaging families in research) were conducted post retreat with seven faith-based community leaders to draw out their depth of cultural knowledge and how it was applied to the development and conduct of the programme. As well as drawing on the evaluative materials, talanoa were conducted with three participating families to further consider their experiences of the programme. Overall, this study found that Tongan indigenous cultural ways infused with faith-based values can be effective, transformational, and restorative for individuals and families experiencing violence. Core findings are encapsulated by three intersecting Tongan-Indigenous cultural concepts of: Ko e makatu’unga mo’ui mo e malohi (a powerful and living platform); Koe kolo malu mo e hufanga (a place of safety & refuge), and Fa’utaha (unity/harmony/peace). These concepts not only represent the interweaving of Christian faith and Tongan indigenous knowledge as symbolised by the Fofola e fala (laying out the mat) framework, but also inform our shared understanding of the intent and impacts of the Kainga Tu’umalie programme. These concepts also enlighten my analysis of the positive impacts of the programme on participating families’ and their commitments to engaging in efforts to transform their everyday interactions to create more harmonious relationships within which they can thrive together. Participant accounts foreground the importance and potential of working with key faith-based and cultural values to address patterns of violence collectively within Tongan kainga (families), and with support from wider community members. This research also speaks to the significance of leveraging collaborative partnerships between community-based agencies and faith-based communities in addressing social issues.  
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    The effects of mindfulness meditation on the well-being of Pasifika students : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
    (Massey University, 2023) Uele, Miriam F
    Background: Mindfulness application has become a topic of interest in academic research, primarily because it has been shown to support positive well-being. Mental health disorders disproportionately affect young adults aged 15 to 24, specifically Pasifika people. To the researcher's best knowledge, a mindfulness-based intervention implemented by Pasifika University students is lacking. For such reasons, the current study addresses the research gap by introducing a feasible exploratory study that aims to consider whether participation in a brief four-week mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention (MBSR) can improve levels of subjective well-being, Pasifika identity and well-being, and mindfulness of Pasifika University students. Method: The current study involved a single-group design utilising a quantitative method. Data was collected pre-and-post MBSR intervention using three self-report psychometric measures including the Well-being Index measure (WHO-8), Pacific Identity and Well-being Revised measure (PIWBSR-35), and Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ-39). A paired samples t-test was conducted pre-and-post the MBSR intervention. Results: The findings revealed that subjective well-being, Pasifika identity and well-being were significant post-intervention. However, mindfulness scores were insignificant. A further paired samples t-test was conducted on the individual factors of Pacific identity and well-being and the individual mindfulness facets. The analysis revealed that the mindfulness observation was significant. Conclusion: It can be proposed that a mindfulness meditation intervention could be appropriate for Pasifika University students aged 18 – 24 years old. While this is the case, it is crucial to consider these findings with caution. The current pilot study is a stepping stone towards further investigations that can promote the well-being of Pasifika people.
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    "E lē ma’i, o le malosi!" = (He’s not sick, he’s strong!) : Pacific parents’ journey of raising autistic children in Aotearoa : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Clinical Psychology at Massey University, Albany, Aotearoa New Zealand
    (Massey University, 2023) Nafatali, Rochelle
    Ministry of Health data estimates there are 4,000 Pacific children in Aotearoa New Zealand officially diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. This figure is likely underestimating the true prevalence of autism within Aotearoa Pacific communities, due to diagnostic disproportionality, and a lack of autism assessments completed since the COVID-19 pandemic. Children of Indigenous and ethnic minority populations globally tend to be diagnosed later, incorrectly diagnosed, or are not referred for autism diagnosis. Indigenous and ethnic minority parents regularly have their concerns dismissed by health professionals, face lengthy delays, and endure multiple attempts at diagnostic referral. Despite the growing autistic community globally, and Pacific peoples being the fastest-growing youth population in Aotearoa, Pacific peoples’ perspectives and experiences have not been included in autism research. Consequently, no reliable data exist on Pacific autistic people, and just six percent (6%) of eligible Pacific families are accessing Disability Support Services within Aotearoa. This first Pacific-led study (based on three Pacific-Indigenous research frameworks) focuses on Pacific parents’ expert knowledge from lived experience raising their autistic children, revealing key differences from a Pacific-Indigenous context in autism conceptualisation, support access, and language and culture maintenance. Fifteen Pacific parents of autistic children from the Pasifika Autism Support Group and Pacific community in Auckland Aotearoa, participated in eight research talanoa. Findings revealed parents sought an overall state of Diasporic Adaptation to Neurodiversity which involved acceptance, adaptation, and unlearning for Pacific parents. Four subthemes together explained the experience of Pacific parents of autistic children in Aotearoa: 1) Uncharted Islands: Understanding Autism; 2) Encountering Stormy Seas: Challenges; 3) Collective Unity through Relational Resilience; and, 4) Autism Support. Pacific-Indigenous knowledge and knowledge gained from Pacific parents was woven together to create the Tapasā a Tagata Sa’ilimalo (compass for people in search of success), which can be used for navigating the experiences of Pacific parents of autistic children within Aotearoa. Together with clinical implications provided, the Tapasā a Tagata Sa’ilimalo can guide clinicians, educators, and practitioners working with Pacific families of autistic children in Aotearoa to provide culturally appropriate, family-centred care and support prior to, during, and following autism diagnosis.
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    “Na mata ni Civa au a vakawaletaka” : an ethnobotanical study on kumala (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam) and its contribution to climate-smart agriculture in Ra, Fiji : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Horticulture, Massey University, School of Agriculture and Environment, Palmerston North, Aotearoa
    (Massey University, 2022) Leweniqila, Ilisoni Lasaqa Vuetinabouono
    Globally, sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam) or kumala is regarded as an essential, versatile, and under-utilised food security crop. In Fiji, kumala has a strong traditional base, and our ancestors valued this crop as a lifesaver to people during and after natural disasters to act as food security since both the tubers and leaves are consumed. This research weaves together two methodologies; the Fijian Vanua Research Framework (FVRF) which involves ethnobotany studies, and a western sciences (field trials) research element to support and reinstruct smallholder farmers on the value of kumala as a significant crop for subsistence and a source of livelihood for rural economic development in Fiji. The three research sites were Nabukadra (<20m asl ) located in the coastal land area, Bucalevu (>150m asl) in the high altitude inland, and Burenitu (80-100m asl) in the district of Nalawa which is situated at a lower altitude. The implementation of FVRF in this research paid specific attention to indigenous Fijian society aligning to future food security issues in an agricultural context. This research sought a solidarity approach for the rural areas in Fiji adopting their systems of knowledge and perception as the basis for inquiry extending the knowledge base of indigenous people and transforming their understanding of the social-cultural world like solesolevaki, which is our current cultural currency. The Dre’e metaphor was generated to discuss the findings from this research. The findings of this research discussed the cultural role of kumala production in the I-Taukei context under four components: values and beliefs, practices, skills, and knowledge. Indigenous Knowledge (IK) exists across all facets of the I-Taukei way of life, which includes health, belief system, and environmental survival. Given that each genotype or variety of kumala may respond differently to production factors, there was a need to evaluate available sweetpotato genotypes across geographic zones where it can be grown in Fiji. The application of agronomic field trials at different altitudes for this research provided a valuable recommendation that will assist farmers in decision-making for growing kumala at different altitudes in Ra. This will enhance food security and create economic opportunities. Furthermore, this extension of traditional and agronomic knowledge will support climate-smart agriculture (CSA) and help achieve food security in the province of Ra, Fiji Islands.
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    South Auckland's Pacific Island communities : a snapshot of how Pacific peoples have been represented during New Zealand's COVID-19 news coverage : Master of Communication research report (154.855), Massey University
    (Massey University, 2022) Wandstraat, Valley Vaimauga
    This research report explores the portrayal of New Zealand’s Pacific Island communities in New Zealand’s media during the New Zealand Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the research takes a detailed look at seven case studies indicating how these communities have been portrayed in mainstream and non-mainstream media during the government’s response to COVID-19. The selected case studies focus on reporting about the effects of COVID-19 on the Pacific Island community, especially during the second outbreak and Auckland region lockdown in 2020, where media attention on community transmitted cases put South Auckland at the centre of the largest outbreak in the country.
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    Making in the dark : a South Sea archive : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree Master of Fine Arts at Massey University, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
    (Massey University, 2022) Togo-Brisby, Jasmine
    This exegesis will address Australian South Sea identity through the lens of contemporary art. It will discuss Moana Nui a Kiwa as the waterway which is both connection to land and people of Oceania but also as slave trade middle passage. My practice looks at the vessel as the birth place of a new culture that I claim as my own cultural medium. The vessel also takes place as human form with the South Sea female body is an archive and a site of resistance.
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    Agronomy to promote resilience for indigenous students and farmers in Fiji : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Horticulture Science at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
    (Massey University, 2022) Savou, Joeli
    "Nai takele ni kai viti na vuli – Ratu Sukua." Agriculture is acknowledged as one of the significant contributors to the Fijian economy (United Nations Pacific, 2021). The United Nations and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community have identified Fiji as a country with a vulnerable agriculture sector and high food security risks. This conclusion is owed to Fiji’s seasonal cyclones, inadequate extension programmes, lack of technical knowledge, and primitive farmer mindset (Asian Development Bank, 2011). Research suggests that indigenous Fijian people learn primarily through observation and practical application. Similarly, the transfer of knowledge is through stories, songs and dances, making them practical people. A change in the pedagogical approach in agricultural universities by including field trials and linking them with the theoretical experience will promote learning for our indigenous students. Moreover, there is space to explore teaching approaches that may be effective in training indigenous students. Opening training pathways that lead to a better understanding of developing critical thinking for indigenous students is imperative. Farm trials (applied in the appropriate context) can enhance understanding and improve outcomes to bridge the gap between theory, indigeneity, and practice in agronomy. These attributes help address current agricultural problems in Fiji, such as climate change and food security, which farmers can adopt to develop adaptive, resilient and robust approaches to improve production. The results generated through this paper reflected a positive outcome in terms of pedagogical approaches in tertiary level in Fiji. The incorporation of field trials in practical activities with the guide of assessments is proven to develop awareness and critical thinking in indigenous Fijian students. The formulated templates are a key component in undertaking field trials as they can be utilised to adapt to any crop.
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    Pasifika practitioners' experiences : working with people engaged in harmful sexual behaviour : a thesis submitted to Massey University in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
    (Massey University, 2022) Gojak, Natasja
    Pacific peoples in Aotearoa continue to be over-represented amongst those who demonstrate harmful sexual behaviour (HSB). Given the stigma that often coincides with this behaviour, there is a paucity in existing literature that considers the experiences of those providing treatment for HSB, particularly among Pasifika communities. This becomes even more of a concern for Pasifika people providing treatment to Pasifika with HSB, given the hierarchies, protocols and boundaries that exist within Pasifika communities. This study posed the question; what is the experience of Pasifika practitioners’ working with Pasifika who have demonstrated HSB? The aim of this research was to provide insight into the experience of Pasifika practitioners in this space in the endeavour to provide an exploratory. The objective was threefold; (i) Establish a basis of knowledge that can be built on through future study to support the professional development of Pasifika and non-Pasifika practitioners working with HSB, (ii) Create greater awareness and support within the community for Pasifika practitioners working within the space of HSB, (iii) Determine recommendations for developing culturally appropriate treatment for working with HSB so practitioners can engage in evidence-based practice that is culturally safe. A Pasifika-appropriate Talanoa methodology was employed to navigate data collection with the participation from five Pasifika practitioners who include social workers and psychologists. Data was analysed using thematic analysis. In response to the research question, four overarching themes were identified to depict the experience of Pasifika practitioners; the centrality of the Vā, integrating culture into practice, service to the community and navigating heterogeneity. This study identified the need for future research to focus on a professional development framework for Pasifika practitioners working with HSB. It also highlights that efforts should be made to improve guidelines and supports for Pasifika practitioners working with HSB. Moreover, in the endeavour to create infrastructure and policy that further perpetuates appropriate methodologies, these goals should sought to be achieved in a way that is Pacific by Pacific for Pacific.
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    Bai givim mipela planti strong : teacher training programmes and teacher empowerment in Papua New Guinea : a research report presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of International Development at Massey University, Manawatū, New Zealand
    (Massey University, 2022) Ready, Joseph
    Teachers are an indispensable component of an education system. “Teachers are one of the most influential and powerful forces for equity, access and quality in education and key to sustainable global development” (UNESCO, 2008b, para 1.). Issues of teaching training and retention are having significant impacts on the quality of education in countries of the Global South. The increased focus on education access have resulted in classroom sizes ballooning in Papua New Guinea which in turn has impacted the quality of education. Numerous donors and agencies are working in Papua New Guinea in the education space. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been filling the gaps in teacher training through programmes to support and address the quality of education. Little is known about the extent to which teachers in these programmes are empowered. Therefore, it is timely to look at the relationship between teacher training programmes and teacher empowerment. This report uses an adapted empowerment approach as a theoretical framework to understand how teacher training programmes can empower teachers. This qualitative research draws on the case study of Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF), an education, health, and community NGO with a specific focus on the Teach for Tomorrow programmes. The project involved multiple methods to collect data, which were: tok stori, a culturally appropriate method of research with participants, document analysis, and a semi structured interview. The voices of participants feature teachers and an NGO employee with a strong localisation focus. Three key themes of culture, knowledge and partnership were identified from literature and form the foundation on which the empowerment lens was applied to this research. Findings show that there was a substantial increase in the amount of trained and certified teachers through the T4T programmes. Opportunities to improve the quality of teaching were provided through professional development and training. This received positive response from participants. Recognition of existing teacher knowledge of their communities was a vital part to ensure programme content focused on adding value to teachers’ knowledge. Overall, KTF programmes are making positive changes which empower teachers professionally, personally and as member of the community.
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    An analysis on the effectiveness of community policing strategies on the methamphetamine trade in Tonga : a research project presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of International Development, School of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand
    (Massey University, 2022) Naisali, Seimoana
    Police reform in small island developing countries has seen the increasing implementation of the community policing strategies as a means to achieve trust and confidence of Police within the community. Over the past two decades, the Pacific Islands have adopted a community-oriented policing approach over more hardened methods of law enforcement found in traditional policing because its strategies offer a more loosened approach to restoring justice and peace in the community. However, there have been claims that foreign assistance provided by donor countries to support policing in the Pacific has introduced new problems for recipient countries, particularly in the areas of policy design, implementation and suitability. This report analyses the effectiveness of community policing strategies in Tonga relating to methamphetamine, and the ways in which New Zealand provides aid to support and improve Tonga’s capacity and capability to tackle the issue. Increased reports of methamphetamine around Tonga have been increasingly evident in media headlines and Police reports. The debate in this research draws upon findings in the literature, semi-structured interviews and document analysis through Tonga Police’s current policy reviews. The findings also examine the suitability of foreign priorities in the local context and how improvements can be made to increase the efficacy and efficiency of Tonga Police. This research suggest that while New Zealand’s proactiveness in Tonga has seen slow but progressive results, its drug related strategies lack input and direction from local government and Tonga Police. A shift towards culturally suitable policing strategies focused on improving community wellbeing through grassroots initiatives such as rehabilitation, training and education is urgently required. The research argues for more collaborative cross-sector efforts between local government agencies and external organisations whose involvement can help to alleviate the strain on Police resources whilst upholding and improving community wellbeing.