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Our Pacific health research people

To meet our researchers visit our Research page

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Division of Health Sciences Pacific Strategic Group

The Takiala Pacific Health Leadership Network comprises all the Associate Deans Pacific in the Division of Health Sciences. This group provides the strategic leadership for Pacific development and regional engagement for the Division.

Takiala Pacific Leadership Network members (Health Sciences website)

The University of Otago Pacific Strategic Framework 2022-2030 (PDF)

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HEDC Student Learning Development

Three PI students on campusHEDC Student Learning Development (fomerly the Student Learning Centre) provides free and confidential academic support to students studying at Otago. Whether you are working hard to get a pass mark, seeking to gain a top result, or catching up after a break away from study, all students can benefit from our services:

  • Workshops for undergraduate and postgraduate students
  • Online resources and self-study guides
  • One-to-one appointments with a learning adviser

A range of skill development programmes and great opportunities to develop your employment skills through helping other students.

HEDC Student Learning Development website

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Otago Pacific Academic Staff Caucus (PASC)

Pacific Academic Staff Caucus members imageAn Otago Pacific Academic Staff Caucus (PASC), at the University of Otago, supports teaching and research excellence, while staying in tune with Pacific Island peoples’ worldviews and aspirations.

PASC also wants to strengthen the University’s links with local Pasefika communities—which is one of the University’s stated aims—and to raise the profile of Pasefika academics, their research and teaching. That will include developing a pool of Pasefika staff who can provide the media with prompt, expert comment on any public issues affecting Pasefika people. Pasefika academics also aim to give back to their local communities in New Zealand by holding public seminars and workshops about issues of interest.

The Caucus also aims to support research and foster career pathways for Pasefika postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows, while simultaneously encouraging Pasefika students in general to have a sense of social responsibility and effective citizenship.

The Caucus is open to all Pasefika academics and plans to identify Pasefika champions across all the University’s divisions and campuses.

Pacific Academic Staff Caucus (Pacific  at Otago website)

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Pacific Development Office

Our heart-felt condolences go out to family and loved ones of Tasileta who passed away on 21 April.
She was a much loved leader and respected member of our University of Otago community.
A fuller acknowledgment of Tasileta, her life and her incredible contribution to the lives of others will follow.

Tasileta Teevale thumbnailDr Tasileta Teevale, Former Director Pacific Development, University of Otago, said, “my position was set up to monitor the progress of the Pacific Strategic Framework, which is the University’s response to its charter goals in terms of meeting the needs of Pacific peoples. The Framework sets aspirational targets for Pacific student achievement at Otago".
Pacific Strategic Framework (PDF)

“The expectation is that Pacific students should achieve on a par with every other student. At the moment there is a bit of a gap compared to the rest of the student body – we are working to raise that level.”

Director, Pacific Development (Acting)

Professor Rose Richards has been appointed Director, Pacific Development (Acting).

Contact the Pacific Development Office:

Pacific Development Office website

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Pacific Islands Centre

As a student of Pacific descent, you will be well supported when you arrive here at Otago. The University welcomes the diversity Pacific people bring to Otago and supports its Pacific students through a range of networks and support systems.

Coordinating all of the support services available to Pacific students is the Pacific Islands Centre, your home away from home while at University. You will be welcomed as a family member and we will make sure that you return to your family and community with your mission accomplished.

Pacific Islands Centre website

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Pacific Islands Health Professional Students' Association (PIHPSA)

PIHPSA members with special guest Shiriki KumanyikaThe Pacific Islands Health Professional Students' Association (PIHPSA) is an independent student body that supports Pacific students, and encourages networking between students, staff, and working health professionals.

PIHPSA's activities include mentoring, advocacy, organising social events, sending students to conferences, cultural dances, and encouraging research.


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POPO Foundation Programme (PFP)

Three Pacific Health Sciences students imageThe Foundation Year course at Otago is a great way to prepare for your first year of university. It also gives you time to adjust to the student life in Dunedin.

Each year, the POPO (Pacific Orientation Programme at Otago) Foundation Scholarship Programme (PFP) supports some Pacific students who:

  • Are studying the Foundation Year Health Sciences course, and
  • Intend to apply for the Health Sciences First Year course at Otago, or any other health-related programme

More about the POPO Foundation Programme

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Va'a o Tautai – Centre for Pacific Health

Va'a o Tautai logo graphicVa'a o Tautai provides a range of academic programmes and support for Pacific students across all Otago campuses. It leads the way in Pacific health teaching and research.

Va'a o Tautai is led by Faumuina Professor Fa'afetai Sopoaga.

The University of Otago Pacific Strategic Framework 2022-2030 is the key document that underpins the work being undertaken within Va’a o Tautai, as well as guiding Pacific engagements across the University.