If you have questions or need help come and see us. The Division of Sciences Pacific Islands support network is here for all students of Pacific Islands descent taking any Science papers.
If you need help, don't hesitate to contact us. We can advocate on your behalf and provide:
- Career advice and options
- Help with choosing papers
- Time management and study advice
- Information and assistance
To provide what you need to achieve what you’re capable of, we work closely with the:
- Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit (PIRSSU)
- Pacific Islands Centre
- International Student services
- Career Development Centre
- and the Division of Sciences office
The University also provides On-Campus Experience (OCE) scholarships for Pacific Islands students.
Pacific Islands Student Support Facilitator
3rd Floor, Science Library
Science III Building
730 Cumberland Street
Tel +64 3 244 8489
Office hours: Mon–Fri 8:30am to 5:00pm
Pacific Island Liaisons – Sciences
The role of our Pacific Islands Liaisons is to provide specialised support from the departments they are located in. You should seek help from a liaison with any queries regarding specific papers or labs, access to resources or any other general enquiries about an issue encompassed within that department.
The Pacific Islands Liaisons for each Department are:
Dr Latika Samalia
Hi, I am a professional practice fellow at the Department of Anatomy and am a Pacific Island support person for Anatomy in the Biomedical Sciences. I teach Anatomy in all the professional courses – Medicine, Dentistry and Physiotherapy.
I am originally from Fiji. The best way to reach me is via email.
Dr Erik Wibowo
Erik is a member of the Pacific Strategic Framework Group in the School of Biomedical Sciences, and a Pacific Islands students liaison in the Department of Anatomy. Erik is originally from Indonesia, and has been in New Zealand since 2018. Erik is teaching various papers including 200- and 300-level anatomy papers as well as gross anatomy for the medical students. He has a broad research interests ranging from male sexual behaviour in rodents, to how to improve quality of life of prostate cancer patients. You can find Erik in room 405 LFB, or you can send an email to him to make a meeting time.
Dr Ben Peters
I’m a professional practice fellow in Biochemistry. I really enjoy getting to know students and helping them learn all about how we function at a biochemical level. I find it incredibly valuable to get to know you so I can also learn from you through the process of Ako. You will probably meet me through your Biochem labs (or lab demonstration videos, I am in a lot of those!). Please feel free to drop me an email or pop into my office if you need any help with Biochemistry.
Bachelor Biomedical Science Students
Dr Janice Lord
Talofa lava, Kia orana, Malo e lelei, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Bula vinaka, Malo ni, Halo ola keta, Mauri, Fakatalofa atu and Warm Pacific Greetings. My name is Janice and I am the Pacific liaison for the Botany Department. We are a small, friendly department with a strong research profile in native plant and fungal diversity and nutritional quality of food plants. I work on plant-insect interactions such as pollination and restoration of native vegetation. I also have a strong interest in cultural uses of plants.
My family have lived in Otago for generations and my heritage is Scottish and English. However, I have travelled in the Pacific and love the vibrant welcoming culture and beautiful natural landscapes. If you need to speak with me please email me first to set up a time.
Dr Andrea Vernall
Associate Professor Bill Hawkins
Associate Professor Alistair Knott
Malo e lelei! I’m an associate professor at the Computer Science department. My main qualification for being the Pacific Support person at Computer Science is that I’m married to Mele Taumoepeau, who’s the Associate Dean Pacific for Sciences. Mele is Tongan, and I’ve been a regular visitor to Tonga for the last 25 years – in fact, we were married in Tonga (devastating the local population of pigs).
I’m really happy to chat to Pacific students at Computer Sciences about any issues they might have. Please get in touch by email or just show up at my office in the Owheo building (room 254, on the second floor).
Anna Wood is one of the Ecology Degree Programme Teaching Fellows and a Pacific Island support person. You are very welcome to contact her with any queries about the programme. If you need any support-either personal or with your studies- Anna can help you work out what you need and where to go.
Please drop in to the Botany House Annexe (cream bungalow, green roof at 479 Great King St, mornings are best) or email to make an appointment.
Dr Mei Peng
Forensic Analytical Science
Professor Russell Frew
I am Russell Frew from the Department of Chemistry. I am the contact for the Forensic Analytical science programme.
Students can contact me either by email or drop by my office.
Dr Gillian MacKay
Warm Pacific Greetings! I am Dr Gillian Mackay the Senior Teaching Fellow for Genetics. You will meet me in most of the GENE 200-level labs and also I teach in some GENE 300-level labs too.
If you want to get in touch with me either email me or pop into my office or have a chat with me if I am in your lab. Genetics is currently in a temporary office on the ground floor of Biochem (G11), while our new office hub is being renovated.
Geography / Geo Info Systems
I am the School of Geography Teaching Fellow and work primarily in the three first year papers that we offer (Geog101, Geog102 and Envi111). I have a strong interest in the transition students make when leaving high school and coming to university, where students face differences in learning, new challenges and opportunities and become much more independent.
I can be found on the 5th floor of the Richardson Building in room 5.C.12 and am very happy for students to drop by or they can email me for a time to meet.
My office hours are 10am to 11.30am Monday to Thursday.
Human Nutrition / Sport and Exercise Nutrition
Dr Meredith Peddie
I’m Meredith Peddie, a Research Fellow in the Department of Human Nutrition, my position is funded by the National Heart Foundation of New Zealand, and my research focuses on the health effects of sedentary behaviour, and how interrupting periods of prolonged sitting with short bouts of activity can affect postprandial glucose metabolism, appetite response and energy expenditure. I also am involved in co-ordinating the SuNDiAL project, which is large nationwide research study that the Masters of Dietetics students work on for the research component of their degree.
If I’m in my office (7c3 Science 2) my door is always open, but sometimes teaching, research and life in general means I’m not in my office. If you want to guarantee you will catch me, feel free to email or phone to make a time.
Dr Sara Styles
Marine Science / Aquaculture and Fisheries / Oceanography
Dr Bridie Allan
Kia orana, Bula Vinaka, Aloha, Mauri, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Talofa, Taloha ni, Malo e lelei, Halo olaketa, and Warm Pacific Greetings.
My name is Bridie Allan and I am the Pacific liaison for the Department of Marine Science. Our department works across a range of marine environments and on a range of different marine taxa, we even look at the behaviour of waves! For my own research, I work on coral reef ecosystems and coral reef fish. I am especially interested in understanding how environmental changes will affect the health of the marine environment.
We are all connected by the Pacific Ocean, if you need course advice, or information on where a degree in Marine Science might take you, please connect with me via email or drop by my office (MS148) in the Marine Department.
Mathematics and Statistics
Dr Matthew Parry
Dr Florian Beyer
Microbiology and Immunology
Dr Jen Robson
Hello, my name is Jen Robson. I am a 300-level teaching fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. My role is mostly based in the undergraduate laboratory teaching 300-level students. I see all my students as scientists in training, and my job is to teach them how to do lab work so that they will be successful in the workforce or in postgraduate study. I am here to help and support our Pacific Island students with their microbiology papers.
If you need help or course advice, please come and see me in my office on the 3rd floor of the Microbiology building (Rm 306) or contact me by email.
Dr Karl Iremonger
Pharmacology and Toxicology
Professor Rhonda Rosengren
Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences
Dr Marguerita Lazar
Marguerita (Margie) Lazar is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences. I am the Course Coordinator for our new practicum paper and have a particular interest in furthering the academic success and support for Pacifica students.
You can reach me via email or phone. I look forward to meeting you soon.
Dr Lara Vlietstra
Kia orana, I’m Lara Vlietstra, a Lecturer in the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences. I teach Physical Activity and Health and my research focuses on healthy ageing and the prevention of age-related diseases, with a particular focus on physical activity and sarcopenia. I also am involved as the Deputy Director of CARE, a University Research Theme on ageing research.
I can be found in my office in room 1.09 in the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences (55/47 Union Street West) and am very happy for students to drop by or they can email me for a time to meet.
Dr Terry Scott
Associate Professor Jevon Longdell
Associate Professor Daryl Schwenke
Talofa lava, my name is Daryl Schwenke and I am an Assoc Prof within the department of physiology and have established an exciting line of biomedical research into cardiovascular disease in Pasifika.
I also serve as Associate Dean Pacific for the School of Biomedical Sciences, and am a course advisor/approver. So I would be keen to meet and greet as many of you as possible that may have any questions regarding life in the School of Biomedical Sciences.
Hello students, I am one of the PI Liaisons in the Department of Physiology. I am a Teaching Fellow, so am lucky to spend the majority of my time teaching students: the students of this university are the number one priority for me, and I take my responsibilities for assisting you through your studies very seriously.
I teach into the HUBS papers and 200-Level Physiology labs. I am happy to help with both content and non-academic enquiries, or will help connect you to the right people if I am unable to assist. I believe it is important to accept all questions in the manner in which they are asked, so you can ask me anything and, even if it’s something I can answer easily, I will think better of you because you had the guts to ask.
Email is my best point of contact (then I can either reply electronically or arrange a time to meet when I am not teaching others). Please highlight in the subject of your email that you are a PI student, so I can make responding to your email a priority.
Associate Professor Mele Taumoepeau
Mele is a senior lecturer within the Department of Psychology and also the Associate Dean Pacific for the Division of Sciences. Her research focusses on understanding the role of parent-child conversations in the development of children’s social cognition in Pacific Island families.
Mele lectures in the PSYC 112 and 327 papers and is available to provide support and advice to students within the psychology department. Mele also works alongside the Sciences Pacific Support and Strategy team to provide assistance and guidance to all Pacific students within the Division of Sciences.
Dr Gianna Savoie
Surveying / Land Planning and Development
Dr Francesca Marzatico
Dr Jenny Jandt
I study the behavioural ecology of social insects (bees and wasps). I am particularly interested in how wasps and bees work together to produce a successful colony, and how the environment that they live in affects those interactions and their development.
The best way for students to meet up with me is to make an appointment via email first.