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Relocating research

Dr Robin Quigg

Robin - sitting

Until early 2014, Otago’s Graduate Research School Scholarships Manager Dr Robin Quigg (Raukawa) was a Research Fellow within the University’s Preventive and Social Medicine Department, exploring ideas of health and well-being, especially regarding children’s activity.

Robin’s new role hasn’t seen the end of her research, in fact she sees it as a continuation of her previous work, not least with regard to Māori.

“My interests in health and well-being pervade everything I do,” Robin says. “Within Graduate Research, that includes looking at who should the University be supporting. How do we get better research, better graduates? While the job doesn’t have a specifically Māori focus, I do bring an interest in equity to the job – it’s showing through quite strongly.”

Robin also has a number of research projects jammed into an allocated 0.1EFT of her work time.

She is working with Otago Law Associate Professor Jacinta Ruru on a project that involves their own Raukawa iwi.

“Raukawa have just settled with the Crown their historical Treaty of Waitangi claims settlement, so they are at a new phase of self-management. Along with a few other iwi, they have legislated co-management of the Waikato River. We are being led by Raukawa for our research into the Waikato and other rivers in the area in terms of specific health and well-being issues for Raukawa.

Robin - smiling“It’s a long-term project. In the short term we’re looking at indicators of well-being and its association with the river. We’re also working on education and building relationships between the iwi and the University, especially with regard to our graduate and undergraduate research roles.”

In collaboration with Otago Geography Associate Professor Michelle Thompson-Fawcett, Robin is working on a chapter for a Geographies of Children and Young People book looking at how to encourage the development of a positive Indigenous identity in the way you enable culturally appropriate play and engagement in primary school children.

Robin is also partners with Otago’s Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Unit co-director and Research Fellow Rose Richards, writing a chapter for the book, Geographies of Children’s Health and Wellbeing in Urban Environments.

“Rose is of Samoan and English descent with an interest in Pacific Island and Maori models of well-being. All that is being interwoven into our writing, which is about active urban children, specifically girls’ wheeled play. We’re looking at data from children who wore GPS and accelerometer devices, allowing us to track their activity in their communities. We’re looking at all this information and trying to weave together traditional ways of seeing the world with the new data possibilities to created new knowledge and more beautiful research questions.”