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Pacific staff

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Please see below a selection of photographs of Pacific staff from the University of Otago

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Above Image: Ramona Tiatia: “The ramifications of heart surgery and a short lifespan are devastating for parents.” Photo/Hagen Hopkins

Rheumatic fever is a cruel disease that can lead to heart damage and death. Yet we may have missed an important trigger.
Rheumatic fever has a particular taste for Maori and Pasifika kids. It’s still hauling them down – licking their joints and biting their hearts, as the old saying goes – despite a six-year public health campaign that cost $65 million (Woulfe, 2017).   See the full New Zealand Listener article online here

Reference: Woullfe, C, 2017. 'Fever Pitch', The New Zealand Listener, 29 July - 4 August, pp. 12-20.

Tofilau honoured at Pacific Welcome

Above Image: Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai performs an acceptance dance, after receiving a Special Acknowledgement from the Division of Health Sciences, University of Otago for her contributions to the Pacific community.

Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai is simultaneously passionate and humble about the work she does as Manager of the University of Otago’s Pacific Islands Centre; indeed she believes so strongly that her work is a team effort that she felt uncomfortable being singled out for a special honour last month.  Read more about this story.

Samoa Trip Builds Relationships_July2016
Above Image: After the official Welcoming Ava ceremony from the National University of Samoa — the Vice-Chancellor of the National University of Samoa (second row, seventh from left, in green) is between Otago’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Health Sciences and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Professor Peter Crampton and Otago’s Division of Health Sciences Associate Dean Pacific Faumuina Associate Professor Faafetai Sopoaga (July 2016).

The universities of Otago and Samoa have had a Memorandum of Understanding since 2004. The memorandum gives Otago students priority for placements in Samoa and creates sabbatical opportunities for staff. A recent trip to Samoa is the latest concrete demonstration of the University’s aim to contribute to the Pacific region and international progress.  Read more about this story.


Pacific Staff Promoted to Senior Lecturers_2015

Above Image: Congratulations go out to Dr Patrick Vakaoti (Department of Sociology, Gender & Social Work), Dr Mele Taumoepeau (Department of Psychology) and Dr Iati Iati (Department of Politics) at the November 2015 Annual Pacific Staff Meeting on their promotions to Senior Lecturer.


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Above Image: In the Council Chamber, Mr Victor Rodger, 2016 Burns Fellow, addresses students at the Pacific Peoples Entrance Scholarships Celebration on 7 April 2016.


Mr Rodger chose to read an inspiration piece by Shonda Rhimes from the 2014 Dartford College commencement address.