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Student support staff

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.

Tagiilima Feleti thumbTagiilima Feleti

Tel +64 3 479 8278
Mob +64 21 279 1296
Website Pacific Islands Centre

Christine Anesone_thumbnailChristine Anesone BA

Pacific Islands Community Liaison Officer
Tel +64 3 479 4981
Website Pacific Islands Centre

Marea Columbo thumbMarea Colombo PhD

Tutorials and Academic Pastoral Support Co-ordinator (TAPSC)
Tel +64 3 479 4160

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Each of the four academic divisions have dedicated Pacific Student Support Staff:


Division of Science

Meliame Jackson thumbnailMs 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 to Thursday, from 10:00am to 12:00pm for student drop-in sessions or book an appointment via email.

Tel +64 3 479 9267
Office Room 109, Union Court, 85 Union Place West

Office hours:
Mon to Wed 8:30am to 1:30pm
Thur 8:30am to 1:15pm

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Sonja Xavier 2020 thumbnailSonya 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.

Tel +64 3 479 9267
Mob +64 21 278 9267
Room 109 (upstairs), Union Court, 85 Union Place West
Web Division of Sciences Pacific student support

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Division of Health Science

Iacinta Lucas 2019 thumbnailIacinta 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.

Tel +64 3 471 6360
Mob +64 21 279 1976
PIRSSU, 71 Fredrick Street, University of Otago, Dunedin
Website Pacific at Health Sciences

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Division of Humanities

Sia Lei image 2021 thumbSia 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.

Tel +64 3 479 9616
Office Room 5C9a, Fifth Floor, Arts Building, Albany Street
Website Pacific at Humanities

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Otago Business School

Esmay Eteuati bio photo 3Esmay 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.

Tel +64 3 479 4756
Website Pacific Student Support Commerce

Mary Jane Kivalu, Pacific Islands Student Support Facilitator


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Other Pacific Islands Student contacts