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Health and Climate

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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).

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.


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 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.

Narratives and Representations

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.

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.

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.

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.

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