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Meet the Researcher

Photo of Mercy Ah Siu-MalikoDr Mercy Ah Siu-Maliko is a Lecturer at Piula Theological College and a Research Affiliate at the Centre for Theology and Public Issues. During 2017–2018 she was lead researcher for the Fola le ta'ui a le Atua: Rolling Out the Mat of Scripture project funded by the New Zealand Institute for Pacific Research (NZIPR) on church responses to violence against women in Samoa.

Mercy was born and raised in Samoa before moving to Auckland in the 1980s. She has degrees in Arts (BA Auckland, 1993) and Theology (BTh Auckland, 1995; MTh Pacific Theological College, 1998; PhD Otago, 2015). She has lectured in Theology at Piula College (1999-2002), Sociology at National University of Samoa (2002-2004), and Women's Studies at the Pacific Theological College (part-time, 2005-2006).

She previously co-ordinated the WEAVERS project on 'The Church and Violence Against Women' for the Women in Theological Education for the South Pacific Association of Theological Schools (2005-2006), and worked at the Centre for Samoa Studies at NUS (2008), and as a librarian and administrator at Piula Theological College (2008-2011).

In 2016 she was a Harold Turner Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Otago, and wrote Christian Faith and Family Violence: A Report for Samoan Communities in New Zealand (2016). In 2017 she was appointed as Lecturer at Piula Theological College.

As the lead researcher, Mercy is supported by a wider project team: Dr Melanie Beres (University of Otago), Dr Caroline Blyth (University of Auckland), Dr Ramona Boodoosingh (National University of Samoa), and Prof David Tombs (University of Otago).

Exploring family relationships and violence against women

Contextual bible studies

In order to support a deeper conversation about gender-based violence (GBV) within Samoan church communities the project developed a contextual of group bible studies to explore family relationships and violence against women. These were developed and piloted in 2018 and published in 2019 as Mercy Ah Siu-Maliko, Tatala le Ta'ui a le Atua | Rolling Out the Fine Mat of Scripture.

Bible study resources:

You can also read the research briefing which accompanies the bible studies:

Meaning of the project title

The project name 'Tatala le ta'ui a le Atua (Rolling Out the Fine Mat of Scripture)' suggests the rolling out of a fine Pacific mat for an honest conversation on an important issue in a respectful manner. The choice of title signals the "positive, inclusive and dialogical intention behind the 'strengths-based' research approach and its use of bible studies.

Media coverage

23 Sept 2019.
Sapeer Mayron, 'Samoan theologian sees answer to gender-based violence in scripture', Samoa Observer.

3 September 2019.
Eleanor Ainge Roy, 'The silence is suffocating': family abuse 'epidemic' uncovered in Samoa', Guardian.

1 July 2019.
Barbara Dreaver, 'Study recommends churches play a role in solving Samoa's domestic violence issue', TVNZ 1News.

Further links

12 Feb 2019.
'Rolling Out The Fine Mat Of Scripture: Church Responses To Gender-Based Violence In Samoa'. Shiloh Blog.

New Zealand Institute for Pacific Research Project (NZIPR)

View the WEAVERS project: The Church and Violence Against Women (PDF)

View the project: Christian Faith and Family Violence: A Report for Samoan Communities in New Zealand

Project funding

The project was initially funded by New Zealand Institute for Pacific Research (NZIPR) with support from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Contact information

Dr Mercy Ah Siu-Maliko

Prof David Tombs

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