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Office of the Associate Dean (Pacific)

Office of Associate Dean Pacific logo The Office of the Associate Dean (Pacific), (OADP), oversees the operation of Pacific teaching, research, and student support activities in the Division of Health Sciences. These services are delivered through the Centre for Pacific Health, and the Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit (PIRSSU). All three entities work within Va'a o Tautai which provides strategic leadership for the Division of Health Sciences.

Meet our staff and the committee members who support the Office of the Associate Dean (Pacific).

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Office of the Associate Dean (Pacific) staff

Faumuina Professor Fa'afetai Sopoaga

Tai Sapoaga imageFaumuina is Associate Dean (Pacific), for the Division of Health Sciences and leads the Office

Faumuina is the high chief title from Fagaloa, Samoa. She trained as a medical doctor with expertise in public health and general practice. She is leading development in the Pacific Health curriculum in Health Sciences, through the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, and has wide connections and networks with the Pacific community in New Zealand and the Pacific region. Her research interests are in health workforce capacity building, transitioning students to higher education and Pacific health curriculum. She is currently undertaking doctoral studies on The health and well-being of Pacific students in higher education.

Tel +64 3 479 8493

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OADP staff

Fran Cockerell imageFran Cockerell

Fran commenced in her role in January 2017. Her role is to support the Associate Dean (Pacific) in the provision of operational oversight of the business management of the Office of the Associate Dean (Pacific) and the Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit (PIRSSU).

Prior to her current position, Fran was the Department Manager in the Department of Women's and Children's Health, Dunedin School of Medicine, where she worked for 15 years.

Tel +64 3 471 6379

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Kati Blattner imageKati Blattner
Pacific Nations Liaison

Kati works as a rural doctor in the Hokianga. She has convened the Dunedin School of Medicine Rural Postgraduate Programme since 2008. She has worked with the Cook Islands Ministry of Health on building capacity and the workforce in primary health care culminating in the Cook Islands General Practice Training Programme.

Her areas of interest include improving quality of and access to health services, and education and vocational training for general practitioners in rural and remote communities.

Tel +64 21 457 736

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Sina Mualia imageSina Mualia
Assistant Research Fellow

Sina commenced her role in January 2020. She is currently tasked to provide support with special projects, research, publications and dissemination of data that supports the strategic directions of the Va’a o Tautai. An economist by profession, Sina previously worked in Samoa for both the Samoan Government and the private sector in the areas of trade, commerce, tourism, education and science. Her current interests lie in public health and in indigenous studies.

Tel +64 3 471 6197

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Frances BrebnerFrances Brebner
Pacific Regional Co-ordinator

Frances commenced in her role in March 2018. The role of Pacific Regional Co-ordinator is to strengthen the links and connectedness between Health Sciences, and the Pacific Island Countries and Territories.

Prior to her current position, Frances has worked in both the Cook Islands and Samoa, mainly in the areas of social and economic development, and most recently Frances worked in the Ministry of Health Samoa for 20 years.

Tel +64 3 471 6197
Mob +64 21 279 0964

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Barbara Weastell imageBarbara Weastell

Barbara provides administrative and financial support to Faumuina and the Va’a o Tautai team.

Prior to her current position, Barbara was an administrator at Education Support Services at the College of Education for 12 years before becoming a Campus Temp, where she enjoyed several temporary administrative roles around the University.

Tel +64 3 479 8493

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Pacific committees

All our work would not be possible without the amazing support and guidance of the following pacific committees. We thank all committee members for their contributions and ongoing support of Pacific developments in the Division of Health Sciences.

Pacific Advisory Group (PAG)

The Pacific Advisory Group provides advice to the Associate Dean (Pacific), Va'a o Tautai, on matters that support the Division of Health Sciences engagement with the Pacific Community, aligned with the Pacific Strategic Framework. The Group works primarily in Dunedin campus and recognises local community contexts that support activities in Christchurch and Wellington campuses.

University of Otago Pacific Strategic Framework (PDF)

Members of the Pacific Advisory Group

Pacific Reference Group (PRG)

The Pacific Reference Group is a high level group of University of Otago Pacific alumni and other senior colleagues. It provides advice to the Division of Health Sciences Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Associate Deans (Pacific), on strategic issues relevant to the University of Otago's Pacific engagement and service in New Zealand and the region.

  • Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Health Sciences (Chair)
  • Division of Health Sciences Associate Dean (Pacific)
  • Director Public Health, Secretariat Pacific Community, Noumea
  • Chief Advisor Pacific, Ministry of Health
  • Principal Advisor Pacific, Pacific Operations Directorate, Tertiary Education Commission (TEC)
  • Dean, School of Nursing and Medicine, Fiji National University
  • Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Le Papaigalagala, NUS, Samoa
  • President, Pasifika Medical Association
  • Manager, Pacific Islands Centre, University of Otago
  • Director, Pacific Development, University of Otago
  • Director, International Office, University of Otago
  • Pacific Manager, Counties Manukau, DHB
  • Secretary of Health, Cook Islands
  • Pacific Nations Liaison, Va’a o Tautai
  • Public Health Specialist (Dr Ate Moala)
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology Specialist, Middlemore Hospital (Dr Kara Okesene)
  • Associate Dean (Pacific), University of Otago, Wellington
  • Associate Dean (Pacific), Dunedin School of Medicine

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Pacific Strategic Group (PSG)

The Pacific Strategic Group supports the Division of Health Sciences Pro-Vice-Chancellor and the Divisional Executive in leading Pacific strategic developments. It supports the Health Sciences division to achieve its objectives for Pacific developments as outlined in the University of Otago Pacific Strategic Framework (PDF).

The Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Division of Health Sciences, Professor Paul Brunton, chairs the Pacific Strategic Group, which drives strategic direction and development throughout the Division of Health Sciences. Members of this group are nominated by the Deans of each Faculty or School within the Division.

Members of the Pacific Strategic Group

Takiala Pacific Leadership Network

Takiala is the Tokelauan word for 'guide'

The Takiala Pacific Leadership Network members consist of Pacific Associate Deans and Pacific leaders in the Division of Health Sciences. It provides Pacific strategic leadership, guidance, oversight and support for the Division of Health Sciences’ Pacific and Pacific-related developments, aspirations and activities to ensure alignment with the University of Otago Pacific Strategic Framework (PDF).

Members of the Takiala Pacific Leadership Network