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Health and Climate

The role of Pakistani mothers in children's medicine-taking in New Zealand (Sumera Saeed Akhtar)

This project explores the understandings, beliefs, and social practices associated with medications in the everyday lives of Pakistani mothers for their children in New Zealand. It suggests that better cultural understanding between healthcare professionals and patients could improve medicine adherence, patient care, and clinical outcomes.

Patterns of health services and medicine utilisation by first-generation Pakistani immigrants living in New Zealand (Mudassir Anwar)

One of the numerous challenges that migrants face after moving to a new country is access to health services. The number of people with migrant status living in New Zealand is growing rapidly, yet the literature on the healthcare needs of migrant populations, their expectations, and barriers to access health services is lacking in New Zealand. The Pakistani population has increased by nearly 100 percent between 2013 and 2018 with more than 6000 individuals who identify themselves as Pakistanis currently residing in New Zealand. Therefore, understanding the patterns of health services and medicine utilisation of this growing subset of population makes an essential subject.

Climate Change Migration, Adaptation, and New Zealand's Role in the Pacific (Olivia Eyles)

This research aims to examine the ongoing debate over 'climate refugees', climate migration, and climate change adaptation in the context of the Pacific, and the role New Zealand plays in these issues. Using a case study of Kiribati, issues, narratives and perspectives from both New Zealand/western based stakeholders will be explored as well as those that are living, working and experiencing climate change and the debate that goes alongside this firsthand in Kiribati.

Access to Medicines: Exploring Lived Experience to Inform Policies and Programs (Molly George)

Many pharmacoepidemiological studies show inequity in medicines utilisation. For example, Māori, Pacific and people living in areas of high socio-economic deprivation using fewer medicines than expected. This study aims to understand some of the reasons for these differences in utilisation, by exploring the lived experience of people facing inequities. As a research team, we have followed 21 families for a full year (5 Māori whanau, 5 Pacific families, 5 refugee families and 6 Pākehā families living in poverty). Molly's focus has been the 5 refugee households.

Climigration and Sustainability: A Spatial Analysis on Urban New Zealand (Rajan Chandra Ghosh)

Climigration is now a key issue around the world and has significant impact on the livelihoods of people. It changes the way people live, creating a lot of uncertainty and insecurity. This study aims to find out the livelihoods (shelter, employment, education, and medication), opportunities and challenges of climate migrants in urban New Zealand. It will also assess the impact of environmental migrants in their new destinations. The study will further analyse the government policies and initiatives regarding climigration and develop a sustainable livelihoods framework for climate migrants.

Migration and Development in Fiji: A Local Perspective on Climate Change Impacts (Sargam Goundar)

Despite being at the centre stage of academic and political interest, empirical knowledge on climate-related migration is scarce. In the Pacific context, the relationship between migration, climate change and development is yet to be understood. While much of the research attention is given to sending countries, this study analyses the opposite perceptions of the climate-related migration process in one of the main receiving countries in the Pacific region. Taking Fiji as a case study, this research aims to investigate the relationship between climate change, migration and sustainable socio-economic development of a receiving country from the local perspective.

Migration, Disease and Destitution (Jacqueline Leckie)

This project examines the intersection between the history of disease and destitution among migrants in Fiji with a focus on mental illness. The majority of these migrants were Indian indentured laborers (Girmitiyas) but the project also considers Europeans and migrants from other parts of the Pacific and Asia. The project is also concerned with the discourse surrounding disease.

Factors affecting the resilience of Filipino migrants: Evidence from the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami (Arlene Ozanne)

This study, with Maria Ikeda of Kyoto Sangyo University, explores the social and economic vulnerability of Filipino migrant communities in New Zealand and Japan following the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011. We compare the (1) demographic, social and economic characteristics of migrants who stayed to help in the rebuild and recovery efforts in the disaster-struck areas and discuss the (2) self-help and mutual support coping strategies in post-disaster and recovery stages in Japan and New Zealand.

Trends and Issues on Overseas-Born Careworkers in New Zealand and Their Policy Implications on Japan (Arlene Ozanne)

This study, with Dr Ruth Carlos of Ryukoku University in Japan, compares and contrasts the employment and retention mechanisms of overseas-born caregivers in the institutional elderly care sector in New Zealand and Japan (NZ) with the end goal of identifying some feasible solutions that Japan can adopt to address its serious labour shortage in this sector.

An economic analysis of the migrant workforce in the elderly care sector in New Zealand (Arlene Ozanne)

This project examines employment characteristics and retention mechanisms of caregivers in the elderly care sector in NZ using both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. NZ has grown increasingly reliant on overseas-born caregivers despite our labour market remaining formally closed to this demographic. This dependence has had both a positive (alleviating shortage and providing work to migrants) and negative (high turn-over rate for caregivers, limited caregiving skills) impact in the elderly care sector. This project will investigate factors affecting employment in this sector and assess the likely impact of two new government policies in the health care sector and migration.

Development and piloting of a South Asian-specific Food Frequency Questionnaire (SANZ FFQ) to investigate associations between their dietary patterns and health outcomes in New Zealand (Sherly Parackal)

Because of health screening on application, on arrival in New Zealand (NZ), South Asian (SA) migrants are healthier than the majority of the NZ population, but subsequently develop a four to five fold higher risk for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, including compared to other migrant groups. One of the most important independent risk factors for many chronic diseases among both first and subsequent generations of migrant SAs is food intake and, in particular, dietary patterns. In order to assess food intake accurately in epidemiological studies, information is most frequently collected using food frequency questionnaires (FFQs). However any FFQ needs to be suited to the population it is to be used in, in terms of foods included and comprehensibility.  Surprisingly, there are no ethnic specific FFQs for SAs in NZ. The proposed research aims to develop and pilot an ethnic specific FFQ for SAs in NZ (SANZ FFQ).  This is crucial to gain an understanding of the nutritional etiological pathway for health disparities observed among SAs in NZ. The project is being conducted with Dr Paula Andrews and Mr Andrew Gray at the University of Otago and Associate Professor Clare Wall at the University of Auckland.

Migration in a Warming World (Dennis Wesselbaum)

In a sequence of projects, Dennis studies the determinants of international migration, especially the effect of climate change. This includes the project 'Gone with the Wind: International Migration', in collaboration with Amelia Aburn (Victoria University Wellington), which constructs a rich panel data set of bilateral migration flows over 35 years. The project finds that climate change at origin country is a more important driver than income and political freedom. Further projects investigate the effects of socioeconomic variables, deal with forecasting migration flows, and study the differences across econometric methods.

Developing and Evaluating a digital graphic resource for oral health behaviour change: a mixed-methods study (Vaishnavi Yeleswarapu)

Oral diseases, affecting approximately 3.5 billion people globally, are the most prevalent non-communicable health issues. Evidence indicates that common oral problems like dental caries and periodontal conditions can be prevented through evidence-based oral health practices. Many countries employ a disease-centered approach to oral healthcare, which leads to high costs and dental neglect. Conversely, the bio-psychosocial health model recognizes the multifaceted nature of oral diseases, considering social factors and past experiences in health behaviors. Social customs, past trauma, and living conditions impact oral health. Underprivileged groups, like refugees, often face significant oral health needs due to psychosocial factors. This project uses multimedia, such as graphics and animations, to effectively engage adolescents in oral health education.

Archaeology, Bioarchaeology and Genetics

European settler cemeteries in Otago (Hallie Buckley and Peter Petchey)

Our research involves the bioarchaeological investigation of early European settler cemeteries in Otago, New Zealand, in order to study the lived experiences of these people and in particular how they adapted to life in New Zealand. Multiple strands of evidence, including archaeological evidence of funerary traditions, osteological analysis and trace element analysis, are being used to study these people in detail. Excavations have been conducted at Milton, Lawrence and Cromwell to date.

Analysis of Arawe Islands Faunal Remains (Robert Henderson)

This research analyses faunal remains from early Lapita sites in Papua New Guinea. In addition to gaining further insight into the subsistence strategies practiced at these sites, the research will address a number of important questions about the nature of the earliest stages of Austronesian migration into the Pacific.

Planning for gold and Planting the Soil: reconstructing the lives of Otago colonists using chemical techniques (Charlotte King)

This study aims to reconstruct the varied lives of some of the first European colonists to Otago, examining whether they found the “land of milk and honey” they came here seeking. Using isotopic analysis of human tissues it reconstructs colonial mobility, diet and health to reveal the life stories of early Pākehā New Zealanders.

Old Dogs and New Tricks: Predicting provenance of archaeological kurī (Canis familiaris) as a proxy for early Māori migration in New Zealand (Robyn Kramer)

This project examines early Māori mobility in Aotearoa using isotopic analysis of kurī (Canis familiaris) as a proxy for human movement. Strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr) of kurī are used to predict region of origin for dental samples collected at 13 archaeological sites across Aotearoa. This research provides a unique opportunity to study the migration and interaction spheres of pre-European Māori in Aotearoa without performing destructive analysis on kōiwi tangata.

Understanding Ancient Pacific Migrations (Lisa Matisoo-Smith)

Using both ancient and modern DNA from humans and their commensal species (plants and animals that they transported in their canoes), this project seeks to unravel the migration and interaction pathways of Pacific peoples.

Africa to Aotearoa: A Genetic Ancestry Study of New Zealanders (Lisa Matisoo-Smith)

The Africa to Aotearoa project examines the deep material ancestry of New Zealanders to highlight the migration history of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Following the Phoenicians (Lisa Matisoo-Smith)

Working with colleagues from Lebanon and across the Mediterranean region, we are using ancient DNA to trace the movement of Phoenicians from their homeland in the Levant to locations across the Mediterranean and beyond. We are investigating genetic diversity in ancient Phoenician and Punic burials to better understand the genetic makeup of ancient Phoenician societies.

Polynesian Migration, Colonisation and Oral History (Richard Walter)

The Lawrence Chinese Camp Project (Richard Walter)

The Lawrence Chinese Camp was established during the Otago gold rush of the 1860s and was occupied by a Chinese community servicing the goldfields. By the 1870s the Camp had numerous stores, a hotel, boarding houses, physicians, a butchery, gambling facilities and opium dens. Since 2005 we have carried out four large, areal excavations on the site. Richard's research at Lawrence aims to understand the social history of this overseas-Chinese community living on the fringes of a developing Province.

Refugees and Displacement

Tooth Wisdom: Integrating Refugee Cultural Competency into Dental Practice (Zeina Al Naasan)

This Health Research Council funded project aims to develop, co-design and evaluate a module for refugee oral health to aid dental practitioners deliver dental treatments in a culturally safe manner. Former refugees will be consulted to ensure that this is what they want their dentists to know. This project intends to improve their dental practice with culturally diverse patients.

Wellbeing in the cities of the Global South: Perspectives of the internally displaced children (Ashraful Alam)

A considerable amount of research has foregrounded climate migrants' adaptation struggles in Bangladeshi cities, whereas few have explored the experiences of children. This research uses qualitative approaches (i.e. art workshops, photography exercises) to ensure direct involvement of children in the research. The study brings in children's point of view about the emerging problems relating to their wellbeing, displacement, and urbanisation in the third world context as they move internally from coastal villages to regional cities in Bangladesh. The project is funded by the Brown International Advanced Research Institutes, Brown University, USA.

Sustainable peace in resettlement communities in Aotearoa New Zealand (Anna Burgin)

This project will look in depth at host communities before and during the resettlement of former refugees by researching with volunteers. The research will examine the experiences of volunteers, as a representation of the host community, and see how/if their perceptions and motivations change, what they see their role as, and the challenges they experience as 'hosts' in the New Zealand context. It will examine the idea of sustainable peace in the context of a host community in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Post-settlement refugee-like migrants and refugees, a comparative primary care health analysis (Jonathan Kennedy and Serena Moran)

This project, with Eileen McKinlay, Jenny Visser, and Sue Garrett, investigates and compares the health needs of migrants with a refugee-like background with those of officially designated refugees, in the context of contrasting resettlement support and health services for the two groups in New Zealand.

Refugee resettlement in Dunedin (Angela McCarthy)

This pilot project examines Cambodian, Palestinian and Syrian refugee resettlement in Dunedin, with a focus on comparing the past and present.

Refugees and post-settlement health service utilisation and outcomes by visa type: An exploration of routine data (Frederieke Sanne Petrović-van der Deen)

Refugees are a group with high and complex health needs. International research suggests that refugee health after arriving in the host country is poor, yet health service use among this group is relatively low. Approximately 1,500 refugees resettle in Aotearoa New Zealand each year, including quota refugees, refugee-sponsored family members and asylum seekers. These groups receive different levels of organised settlement support. However, little is known about refugee health service use and health event rates in the years after arriving in NZ. We aim to investigate health service use and health event rates among refugees in the first five years after arriving in NZ using linked visa and health data within Statistics New Zealand's Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI).

Rohingya women refugees (Mercy Rezaun)

This project explores the reasons behind the failure to address refugees' needs, particularly focusing on the Rohingya women refugees' vulnerabilities by analyzing the three main constraints that limit the response: International law, resolution and charters on female refugees; the politics and social structure of the host country; and cultural and structural constraints in Asia related to the way patriarchy is structured.

Delivering primary health care to refugees in New Zealand's Southern Health District (Lauralie Richard [P.I.] and Georgia Richardson)

This qualitative study, with Tim Stokes and Chrystal Jaye, and funded by a 2018 Dean's Bequest, Dunedin School of Medicine, investigates primary health care professionals' accounts of providing care to former refugees as part of the Dunedin Refugee Resettlement Programme. The study highlights critical features of refugee health care delivery in the primary health care setting and identifies areas for improvement to enhance service responsiveness.

Refugee health delivery in the Southern Health District: An innovative qualitative study involving research co-design and health needs and research acceptability mapping (Lauralie Richard [P.I.] and Georgia Richardson)

This programme of work, with Tim Stokes, Sarah Derrett, Chrystal Jaye and Emma Wyeth, is comprised of two parts. Part A, funded by a 2019 University of Otago Research Grant, aims to investigate health delivery models and service networks from the perspectives of key stakeholders involved in refugee service planning and delivery across the health, social and community sectors. This project also involves research co-design with these stakeholders to inform the development of a research project with former refugees to be undertaken subsequently. Part B, funded by a 2019 Health Care Otago Charitable Trust research grant, aims to map the priority health needs of former refugees across the health determinants and explore perceived acceptability of research methods to inform future research. This research programme provides additional opportunities for dialogue on the content and methods of refugee health delivery research as a transformative way to foster culturally responsive health systems and research practice.

Refugee law and policy in China (Dr Lili Song)

This book project, under contract with Cambridge University Press, critically examines refugee law and policy in three jurisdictions, namely mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Refugee law in South Pacific Island States (Dr Lili Song)

This project looks at the emerging body of statutes and judicial decisions in a number of South Pacific island states, exploring the historical, political and social background for the emergence of this body of law, analysing and evaluating it in light of these states' international legal obligatioins, and identifying the challenges faced by these states.

A critical phenomenology of forced displacement (Neil Vallelly)

This project combines research in classical and existential phenomenology and contemporary critical and political theory in order to situate the experiences of refugees and displaced persons within wider exertions of power and oppression in the contemporary world. By drawing on refugee testimonies and literary narratives of forced displacement, the project positions itself within the growing field of 'critical phenomenology', a philosophical methodology that enables us to examine the first-person experience of forced displacement, while simultaneously critiquing the political, social, and economical discourses and practices that create and exacerbate forced displacement.

Refugee women's health seeking behavioural-change upon resettlement to a developed welfare country, New Zealand (Makiko Yui)

This observational doctoral study aims to explore the impact on refugee women of their health-seeking behaviours during their first two years in New Zealand and to identify predisposing factors that favourably or adversely affect any health seeking behavioural-change.

The ethics of care in refugee resettlement, Aotearoa, New Zealand (Rachel Yzelman)


Refugee-background students in Aotearoa: Supporting Successful Secondary to Tertiary Education Transitions (Alejandra del Pilar Ortiz Ayala)

Alejandra is part of the project known as the Transitions Project. This research has received funding from the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative and is hosted by the Higher Education Development Centre at the University of Otago led by Dr Vivienne Anderson.

Good Teaching Project (Vivienne Anderson)

Funded by Ako Aotearoa, the Good Teaching Project explores students' understandings of 'good teaching' and 'effective learning' in diverse educational settings.

Internationalisation Project (Vivienne Anderson)

The Internationalisation Project explores New Zealand university teachers' understandings of internationalisation in higher education. This is a 'tag' project to a completed international study, 'Ethical Internationalism in Higher Education'.

The Experiences of Native English Speaking Teachers who work and live in Japan (Naoko Inoue)

This research aims to explore how native English speaking academics working for universities in Japan are strongly promoting internationalisation processes to negotiate their identities as native English speakers.

The provision of sexual health education for international students in New Zealand by their homestay parents (Lien Trinh)

Among approximately 16,000 international students enrolled yearly in New Zealand schools (since 2009), the vast majority are secondary students. Despite the sheer volume of international students in the New Zealand school system, there is an apparent lack of attention to their sexuality and sexual health in policy and literature. This project examines whether discussion about sexual health takes place between homestay parents and international high school students in New Zealand. The study examines the students' awareness, attitudes and practices in relation to sexual health, and identifies factors that shape their access to sexual health information in their homestay environments. It also explores school policies, guidelines and practices in this area.

Malaysian Women's Career Development following International Study in New Zealand (Salmah Kassim)

This research explores the international experiences of 13 Malaysian women who were part of a twinned in-service teacher education programme involving Malaysia and New Zealand between 1995 and 1998. The study uses a narrative approach to examine how their time in New Zealand shaped their later lives and careers.

Narratives and Representations

Migrant Imaginaries and the Construction of Australian Identities: The Case of South Asian Communities (Ashraful Alam)

This study explores the experiences of south Asian Muslim immigrants in Sydney to understand the construction of their Australian identities. It focuses on first-generation immigrants and asks three questions: (1) what imaginations had driven their migration to Australia? (2) how did they negotiate those imaginations in the processes of settling in Australia? and (3) do they imagine themselves as Australians (or something else) after all these years of living in Australia? The answers will unpack the ways these communities communicate a particular form of migrant identity in the context of multicultural Australia. This study is a collaboration with Prof Claudio Minca at Macquarie University, Sydney.

The Long Shadow of the Shoah: A multigenerational study of Jewish memory and identity in New Zealand (Jack Brosnahan)

This study explores the impact of the Holocaust's legacy on the Jewish community in New Zealand across generations. By conducting new interviews and consulting existing oral testimonies it will investigate the long-term effects on survivors and their descendants, commemoration and memorialisation efforts, the prevalence of Holocaust denial and antisemitism in New Zealand, and the perspectives of recent Jewish migrants. The study will also examine the processes of constructing and preserving memories (individual and collective) and histories, and the role of political, religious, and other factors in shaping these processes. These issues have been extensively examined in international literature, but little attention has been given to them by historians in New Zealand. Ultimately, the study seeks to shed light on the interplay between history, memory, trauma, and identity, and to valuably contribute to our understanding of the Holocaust's legacy for New Zealand's Jewish community.

Loyalism, Fraternalism and Religious Dissent: New Zealand Orangeism, 1840-2000 (Patrick Coleman)

Patrick's project examines the Irish semi-secret fraternal Orange Order in New Zealand in comparative and transnational context.

Urbanisation and Small Islands (Henry Johnson)

This project studies the social and cultural flows that influence small island cultures. Focus is given to cultural transformation in the performing arts as a result of migration.

Cultural Diplomacy (Henry Johnson)

A study of post-World War Two cultural diplomacy, migration and the performing arts between China and New Zealand.

Chinese Traditional Instruments in Contemporary New Zealand: Chinese Identity Construction in Cultural Context (Keran Li)

The history of Chinese immigrants in New Zealand can be traced back to the nineteenth century. After the 1990s, however, the number of Chinese immigrants surged and Chinese traditional music became more prevalent in the Chinese community and in mainstream society in New Zealand. At present, there are many active Chinese community music performances showcased at various festivals, concerts, and activities and some music ensembles are affiliated to hometown associations or private groups. The aim of the project is to investigate Chinese community music in New Zealand amongst diverse communities as a way of showing how Chinese consolidate and promote identity in contemporary New Zealand.

Memorialisation in the British World (Angela McCarthy)

This project, with Dr Nick Evans of the University of Hull, examines identity, meaning and memorialisation in the British diaspora. It is one of nine case studies that form part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) funded project Remember Me: The Changing Face of Memorialisation.

Citizenship and Statelessness in Vanuatu (Greg Rawlings)

Research is focused on citizenship, nationality and statelessness, and how these legal, social and political categories structure possibilities for mobility and its regulation. This involves an ethnohistorical research project examining citizenship and statelessness in Vanuatu, the former New Hebrides. Outputs from this research so far have been published in edited collections and journals including TAJA: The Australian Journal of Anthropology, The Journal of Pacific History and History and Anthropology.

Transnational Democracy in Former Biafra (Dreux Richard)

Drew's Otago doctoral research (with the field research site hosted in Nigeria by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka,) focuses on the role that transnational capital, labour, and entrepreneurism play in the electoral processes of the former Biafra region, with a particular focus on democratic participation by members of the Igbo diaspora. His field work uses theories of oral literature and the methodology of behavioural economics to negotiate culturally significant questions about political corruption, illicit trade, and the perceived legitimacy of Nigeria's government.

Flirting with a destination: A study on the process of place bonding (Shabnam Seyedmehdi)

This PhD study is about place bonding and the emotional connections that refugees, migrants and tourists have with New Zealand. Using in-depth interviews, the findings to date show the importance of place to improve their wellbeing, along with the strategies they deploy to integrate into a new society. Successful place bonding can also result in the sense of security, confidence, trust, and cheerfulness, so investigating how refugees bond to a new place could have significant implications for their welfare.

Border Crossing Experiences of Dual Citizens (Pooneh Torabian)

Guided by critical mobilities and intersectionality frameworks, the purpose of this research is to explore the border crossing experiences of dual citizens who have travelled internationally in the post 9/11 era. Critical mobilities accentuates mobilities as a right while highlighting the interplay of (im)mobilities and inequalities. Although it might seem that dual citizenship would lead to the ease of access when it comes to international travel, it is a form of hierarchical citizenship through which only some can benefit. Critical citizenship scholarship emphasizes the role of individuals as politically engaged and/or the way(s) they are practicing citizenship.

Tuvaluan Diaspora in Oceania: Identity and Belongingness in the Margins (Taomi Tapu-Qiliho)

The diaspora within Oceania conceptalises the existence of settler communities of tuvaluan heritage on kioa island in Fiji and in the village of Elise fou in Samoa and validates existing ties they have with their home of origin. The diaspora has been written about extensively and Pacific Islanders are the subjects of many such writings, but little is known of the Pacific diaspora within Oceania. To appreciate this formation of communities that has taken shape due to the movements of people, one must take into account both indigenous models and conventional approaches such as migration, malaga, va and our sea of islands.

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