The Pacific Islands Centre
The Pacific Islands Centre provides a welcoming environment designed to help all students of Pacific descent to make the most of their time at University. Students use the Centre for advice on anything from academic assistance, scholarships and accommodation to legal and immigration matters and places to worship. The Centre also organise a variety of academic, cultural and social events throughout the year. Below you will find the contact details for the friendly staff at the Centre, the staff are there to assist you with your academic journey and to ensure it is as enjoyable and stress free as possible.
Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai BA, LLB
Christine Anesone BA
Eric Nabalagi BCom
Each of the four academic divisions have dedicated Pacific Student Support Staff:
Ms Meliame Jackson, Pacific Islands Student Support Facilitator (part-time)
Meliame joined the Division of Sciences Pacific Support and Strategy Office in January 2020. Meliame is a University of Otago alumni graduating in 2017 with a BSc in Physiology and has worked in different Pacific Offices across the University including Student Support. Meliame collaborates with Pacific Islands’ Departmental Liaisons and other support services at the University to adequately support students. Meliame is able to provide pastoral support, exam preparation and study advice particularly pertaining to first and second students.
Meliame is available in office from Monday – Thursday from 10:00am – 12:00pm for student drop-in sessions or book an appointment via email.
Mon – Wed 8:30am to 1:30pm
Thur 8:30am to 1:15pm
Sonya Xavier, Coordinator: Pacific Islands Student Support
Sonya joined the Division of Sciences Pacific Support and Strategy Office in 2020.
Sonya is here to ensure that you are well supported throughout the duration of your journey. If you have any queries, please email to book an appointment with Sonya and the team.
Iacinta Lucas, Programme Coordinator (Academic) BA (Otago)
Iacinta commenced her role within the Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit in January 2019. She co-ordinates the academic programmes and monitors the progress of Pacific students within the Division of Health Sciences.
Iacinta completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Otago. Prior to her current position she worked as an Assistant Language Teacher in Okinawa, Japan, as part of the JET Programme.
Sia Lei-Mata’afa, BTchg (Primary) (Otago)
As the support person for Pacific Islanders enrolled in Humanities papers and degrees Sia's key objectives are:
- To liaise with academic departments and support services with respect to any issues relating to you and your course of study.
- To act as a point of contact for all Pacific Island students enrolled in Humanities papers and degrees.
- To facilitate access to pastoral care, student services, course planning advice within the university.
Esmay Eteuati, Associate Dean Pacific and Pacific Islands Student Academic Advisor B.Ed, MIndS (Otago)
Esmay is passionate about the retention and academic success of local and international Pacific students.
Esmay’s role is to liaise with academic departments and Student Services with respect to any issues relating to Pacific students’ and their course of study.
Esmay supports both staff and students in the Otago Business School and has a network of contacts with other divisions around the University.
Mary Jane Kivalu, Pacific Islands Student Support Facilitator
Other Pacific Islands Student contacts: