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 267
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    Pacific peoples’ perspectives on spiritual health : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Public Health in Public Health at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
    (Massey University, 2024) Hitti, Penina Ruhiyyih
    This research investigates Pacific peoples’ perspectives on spiritual health and how this perspective contributes to the discourse on social determinants of health for inclusion in public health programmes and approaches. Pacific views on the value of holistic health and cultural principles are fundamental in addressing health inequities for Pacific people. Within the context of public health, the aim of the research examines the relationship between spirituality and wellbeing, acknowledging the interconnectedness of spiritual health with physical, mental, and social health. The research methods of inquiry includes an extensive literature review to identify a definition of spiritual health, considering historical influences and the potential challenges that present themselves when efforts are made to fit indigenous knowledge into existing health frameworks. The study also uses a qualitative methodology and adopts Pacific Talanoa for its focus group discussion among Pacific peoples representing different religious backgrounds. The findings highlight four main themes as a result of the focus group (1) interconnectedness of spiritual health with other areas of health; (2) importance of spiritual health practices; (3) influence of religious and cultural factors; and (4) interdependence of spiritual health on individual, familial, communal, and environmental health. In conclusion, this study found that spiritual health has a significant role in promoting holistic wellbeing and health for Pacific peoples. By including and incorporating cultural and religious elements into health interventions, public health professionals and researchers may be able to develop more effective strategies to address health disparities and promote equitable health outcomes for Pacific people.
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    Exploring the potential of Green Tourism Bonds as a climate financing initiative in Samoa : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of International Development, Development Studies, Massey University, Manawatū, New Zealand
    (Massey University, 2024) Patrick, Isabella Grace
    This research aimed to explore the potential of a climate financing initiative, namely Green Tourism Bonds, in Samoa. Green Tourism Bonds are a climate financing initiative that allows the tourism sector to adapt and mitigate to the impacts of climate change through providing financial capital where needed. With only one prominent case of Green Tourism Bonds being used globally, there is a research gap in Samoa to explore how these bonds could be implemented in line with Samoan aspirations. Therefore, this research undertook an approach that is driven by the sustainable tourism development aspirations of the Samoan Tourism Authority and the Government of Samoa. The development research problem is that globally-led climate financing initiatives are hard to access for Small Island Developing States, and do not encourage them to tap into their already present forms of community resilience. An example of this resilience can be seen through Latai‐Niusulu, Binns, et al., (2020) cultural-ecological lens on climate change resilience, which directly draws from the knowledge that Samoans have been resilient throughout their history. These historic, dynamic and adaptable patterns of resilience continue to be drawn upon in the contemporary climate change environment (Latai‐Niusulu et al., 2020). This research found that for Green Tourism Bonds to have potential in Samoa, they would have to align with their sustainable tourism development and climate financing approaches. Ultimately, for climate financing to contribute to long-term, in-country resilience, cultural ecological resilience needs to be at the forefront. If it is to be connected to tourism, climate financing needs to also uphold how the sustainability principles established by the Pacific Tourism Organisation are conceptualised in Samoa. Green Tourism Bonds have made proven contributions to the sustainable tourism development in other places. However, due to the challenges posed by the economic COVID-19 recovery, the ‘newness’ of climate financing, capacity of the Government of Samoa and the tourism sector in Samoa, this approach is not recommended in the short- to medium-term in Samoa. This research connects sustainable tourism development and climate financing together in the Samoan context and recommends further options for Samoa.
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    The evolution of public administration and conflict in a post-conflict state : history’s role in Fiji’s political trajectory : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Management at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
    (Massey University, 2024-04-16) Loga, Patricia Savukiono-I-Tuikabara
    Violent geo-political conflicts are on the rise across the globe and most of the countries that experience these conflicts are developing nations like Fiji (Fund for Peace, 2022). Countries that are prone to conflict are classified as fragile States. In the aftermath of a conflict, the public sector is under immense pressure to restabilise the nation and normalise service provision to citizens. Understanding the behaviour of conflict and public administration in a post-conflict State is key for nation rebuilding because it gives an insight into the levers and impediments for crisis management. Although studies have explored crisis management in post-conflict States (Kaplan, 2008), little is known about the role that historical institutions play in the evolution and continuity of conflict and public administration. To address this gap, this thesis used the path dependency theory to explain how policy actions and decisions established a continuous cycle of conflict. Using institutionalism and resilience, this research described why public administration remained fragile despite showing signs of evolution in Fiji’s political trajectory. Based on the findings, it is suggested that policy actors in Fiji consider the following embedded ideologies in their policy making process: race-based politics, intertwined traditional and political roles, adversarial approaches to the protection of interests and segmented economic structures. Fiji is locked into a path of conflict and resilience is restrained by institutionalised processes; an understanding of historical structures that hinder progress can help policy actors create effective public policies. The first significant finding argued that conflict is pathdependent because Fiji was subjected to indirect rule when it was under colonial rule and that the short time taken for the nation to transition from a colony to an independent State created a lack of readiness for self-government. Public administration stability in Fiji was hindered by the co-existence of institutionalism and resilience. It was found that resilience thinking was stifled by institutionalised ideologies that had become embedded in the public administration system. This research made two key contributions: developed a theoretical understanding of public administration and conflict using the path-dependency, institutionalism, and resilience theories. The lessons learned to contribute to policy knowledge on crisis management and nation rebuilding in developing countries like Fiji. This research was conducted using archival research, which was collected from Archives New Zealand and the National Archives of Fiji. Archival research and document analysis complemented the path-dependency, institutionalism, and resilience theories, which involve a descriptive analysis of how past policy decisions affect the behaviour of institutions. In total, 3,270 documents from the years 1858 to 1992 were retrieved and analysed via document analysis and theoretical thematic analysis. Using archival research to study Fiji’s political history aided the identification of themes that explained how and when conflict became path dependent, and why public administration institutions were fragile. The findings from this thesis are contextual and Fiji is a small island developing State so it would be difficult to generalise or replicate. To add to the knowledge of conflict analysis, and nation rebuilding, future research could explore other post-conflict States or former colonies to find out if conflict is path-dependent and which factors create fragility in a public administration. The co-existence of institutionalism and resilience also has room for further development. There is an opportunity to explore the behaviour of these two theoretical frameworks in public administration. A deeper understanding of the push and pull effects of institutionalism and resilience has the potential to improve public sector reform and policy transfer processes.
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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.