University of Otago Pacific People's Reference Group

The University of Otago Pacific People's Reference Group aids and supports the development and implementation of a University of Otago Pacific People's Strategic Framework.

Terms of reference 


The reference group will encompass a role to:


The external reference group will consist of Pacific people with expertise and relevant involvement in tertiary education. The suggested make-up of the group is:


The University of Otago Pacific Peoples reference group will meet quarterly in the first instance. Additional meetings may also be held as required, subject to availability of members and resources.
Secretariat support will be provided by the University of Otago. This support would include co-ordinating, compiling the agendas and circulating the minutes.

Key issues and developments relating to the reference group will be reported to the Vice-Chancellor.


The University of Otago will pay for all reasonable and actual travel and accommodation expenses associated with reference group participation.

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Current members

Professor Vernon Squire

Prof Vernon SquireChair
Professor Vernon Squire is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International) for the University of Otago.

Judge A’eau Semi Epati

Judge Epati2Prominent Otago Pacific Alumni
Judge A’eau Semi Epati was born and educated in Samoa. He attended Otago University and graduated with a BA (Philosophy) and LLB. After a number of high-profile roles in the legal field both in New Zealand and the wider Pacific region, he became the first Pacific Island District Court Judge in 2002.

Mr Amanaki Misa

Amanaki MisaMinistry of Pacific Island Affairs
Cluster Leader South Island, Ministry of Pacific Islands Affairs.

Rev Tokerau Joseph

Rev Tokerau JosephLocal Community Representative
Rev Joseph was elected by the local Pacific community as their representative on the Group. He is the Minister at First Church of Otago and is currently completing his PhD at Otago. Rev Joseph is of Cook Islands descent.

Ms Michelle Schaaf

Dr Michelle SchaafNominee for Te Tumu
Michelle Shaaf is a lecturer at the School of Maori, Pacific & Indigenous Studies.

Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai

Nina Kirifi-Alai 160Manager of Pacific Islands Centre
Tofilau is the Manager of the University of Otago Pacific Islands Centre.

Student Representative

To be appointed.

Ms Naomi Weaver

naomi weaver finalOtago Pacific People's Reference Group Secretary
Ms Weaver is the secretary for the Group and is a Planning and Institutional Research Analyst at the University of Otago. 

Dr Fa'afetai Sopoaga

Dr Tai SopoagaHealth Sciences' Representative, University of Otago
Dr Fa'afetai Sopoaga is the Associate Dean (Pacific) for the Division of Health Sciences.

Mr David Thomson (in attendance)

Director, Planning and Funding Office, University of Otago
Mr David Thomson is the Director of the Planning and Funding Office of the University of Otago and a policy advisor for the Pacific Islands Reference Group.

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© Pacific Islands Centre
University of Otago
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

Tel 64 3 479 8278