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Contact Details

+64 3 479 4328
Senior Research Fellow
Research summary
Pacific research


Through his work in the health sector, Jesse was given the opportunity to work on ‘Te Rau Hinengaro: the New Zealand Mental Health Survey. This in turn enabled him to pursue his PhD studies. He highlights the encouragement of one of his supervisors at the time, the late Professor Richie Poulton, who offered him several opportunities to work and collaborate on Dunedin Study and Graduate longitudinal study research projects.

After the completion of his degree, he was employed to do analyses on Health Sciences First Years students at the University of Otago and as an evaluator for Pasifika Futures, the Pacific Whanau Ora Commissioning Agency of Aotearoa. In addition to this, he was given the opportunity to work with the Big Data team for A Better Start National Science Challenge. The combination of those pieces of work inspired his current research programme to investigate children’s health benefits from education in Pacific families. Here Jesse Kokaua analyses patterns and associations within the data through a mixed model statistical / talanoa based research project.

Additional details

Jesse Kokaua moved to Ōtepoti Dunedin with his wife and four children in 1995 to work at the Southern Regional Health Authority and now calls Dunedin his home. His children now live in Ōtepoti / Dunedin with his six grandchildren

Jesse is of Cook Island Māori descent.


Hetrick, S. E., Hobbs, M., Fortune, S., Marek, L., Wiki, J., Boden, J. M., Theodore, R., Ruhe, T., Kokaua, J. J., … Bowden, N. (2024). Proximity of alcohol outlets and presentation to hospital by young people after self-harm: A retrospective geospatial study using the integrated data infrastructure. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 58(2), 152-161. doi: 10.1177/00048674231203909 Journal - Research Article

Bowden, N., Dixon, R., Anderson, V., de Bock, M., Boucsein, A., Kewene-Edwards, M., Gibb, S., Kokaua, J., Palmer, O., Paul, R., Taylor, B., Vu, H., & Wheeler, B. J. (2024). Associations between type 1 diabetes and educational outcomes: An Aotearoa/New Zealand nationwide birth cohort study using the Integrated Data Infrastructure. Diabetologia, 67, 62-73. doi: 10.1007/s00125-023-06026-y Journal - Research Article

Guiney, H., Caspi, A., Ambler, A., Belsky, J., Kokaua, J., Broadbent, J., Cheyne, K., Dickson, N., Hancox, R. J., Harrington, H., Hogan, S., Ramrakha, S., Righarts, A., Thomson, W. M., Moffitt, T. E., & Poulton, R. (2024). Childhood sexual abuse and pervasive problems across multiple life domains: Findings from a five-decade study. Development & Psychopathology, 36, 219-235. doi: 10.1017/S0954579422001146 Journal - Research Article

Kokaua, J., Kolose-Pulefolau, B., Ruhe, T., Aldridge, F., Foliaki, S., Kokaua, L., Mapusua, T., Dacombe, J., Richards, R., Blakelock, R., & Bowden, N. (2023). Is parent education a factor in identifying autism/takiwātanga in an ethnic cohort of Pacific children in Aotearoa, New Zealand? A national cross-sectional study using linked administrative data. Autism. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/13623613231217800 Journal - Research Article

Kokaua, J., Ruhe, T., & Richards, R. (2023). Connecting pathways in a Pasifika project [Keynote address]. Evaluation Matters/He Take Tō Te Aromatawai, Advance online publication. doi: 10.18296/em.0080 Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

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