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2019 Pacific News/Events

Formal farewell to Professor Sunny Collings, Dean and Head of Campus, University of Otago Wellington, 15 November 2019

The University of Otago Wellington's Hui Whakanui Tauira Awards Ceremony was also the last formal occasion for Professor Sunny Collings, Dean and Head of the University of Otago Wellington Campus to preside over. Many speakers during the formal farewell on the night acknowledged and shared their appreciation for the contribution of Professor Collings to the University of Otago, to the staff, and her work behind the scenes to support the University of Otago Wellington become a more inclusive campus for all. It was also during this occasion that our Associate Dean (Pacific), Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu acknowledged Professor Collings' leadership in supporting the establishment of the University of Otago Wellington Pacific Office, on site, to further strengthen the Pacific presence on campus. On behalf of our University of Otago Wellington Pacific staff, students and communities, Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu presented Professor Collings with a precious Tapa cloth, flowers and lei.

Te Whare Wānanga o Otago ki Pōneke Hui Whakanui Tauira – University of Otago Wellington Awards Ceremony 2019, 15 November 2019

The 2019 UOW Hui Whakanui Tauira awards ceremony was held on 15 November in the Nordmeyer Lecture Theatre where staff and students came together to celebrate. Congratulations to all our students including our UOW Pacific prize winners:

  • Machaela Tepai (Pacific Postgraduate Award)
  • Lelei Ta'ala (Pacific Medical and Allied Health Prize)
  • Toni Anitelea (Pacific Leadership Award)
  • Sophie Papali'i (Pacific Medical Prize)
  • Bridie Laing (Pacific Award)

Otago Global Health Institute (OGHI), McAuley Oration 2019: Responding to the dual crises threatening health in the Pacific Islands, 6 November 2019

Dr Colin Tukuitonga, Director-General, Secretariat of the Pacific Community presented the keynote address, presenting the 2019 McAuley Oration at this conference. "Responding to the Dual Crises Threatening Health in the Pacific Islands" is the title of his presentation, that was presented at the Nordmeyer Lecture Theater, University of Otago Wellington.

Dr Colin Tukuitonga is a prominent New Zealander of Niuean heritage and Director General, of the Pacific Community Secretariat (SPC), a regional intergovernmental organisation with headquarters based in Noumea, New Caledonia. He is a medical doctor by profession that has held senior leadership and management roles in public sector organisations nationally and internationally. His roles here in New Zealand have included, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ministry of Pacific Islands Affairs, now known as the Ministry for Pacific Peoples; the Director of Public Health at the Ministry of Health and Associate Professor at the University of Auckland, where he played a key role in establishing the Department of Māori and Pacific Health and the International health discipline. In addition to his role at SPC, internationally, Dr Tukuitonga held an academic position at the Fiji School of Medicine, became a commissioner for the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Commission; and Head of Surveillance and Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases at the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Switzerland.

Otago Global Health Institute (OGHI), Pre Conference Workshop: Contributing to Research Activities in the Pacific Region; Applying For Global Health Research Funding, 6 November 2019

A Pacific pre-conference workshop facilitated by Dr Viliami Puloka was held on the 6th November before the conference and was entitled 'Contributing to research activities in the Pacific region & applying for global health research funding'. Presentations included "Cultural, practical and methodological issues of research in Pacific settings" that featured Dr Viliami Puloka, Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu, Ms Avelina Rokoduru and Dr Patrick Vakaoti. The section relating to "Applying for global health research funding" featured Professor John Crump, Professor Philip Hill and Dr Rita Przybilski.

Otago Global Health Institute (OGHI) 12th Annual Conference, 6 – 7 November 2019

The OGHI Conference was held at the Nordmeyere Theatre, University of Otago Wellington over two days, from the 6 – 7 November.

The OGHI Conference opened with a Mihi Whakatau by Mr Toa Waaka, Rautaki Hononga Māori (Māori Strategic Framework Project Manager), welcoming and opening address by our Dean and Head of the University of Otago Wellington Campus, Professor Sunny Collings. Senior Pacific lecturers, Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu (also Associate Dean (Pacific), UOW) and Dr Patrick Vakaoti were part of the opening, addressing and welcoming the people attending the conference. On the first day, there were two sessions that included speakers, across the three University of Otago campuses delivering presentations on "Infectious diseases" (Session 1, chair: Professor Miguel Quiñones-Mateu) and "Healthcare delivery and systems" (Session 2, chair: Jacqui Hadingham); Waikato District Health Board, The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ and Christchurch Hospital. The conference continued on the next day, 7th November, opening with the invited speaker, Dr Colin Tukuitonga (from SPC); speakers from University of Otago and University of Otago Wellington; speakers from the Auckland, Fiji National University, University of Sydney, University of St Andrews (Scotland) and Health and Environment International Trust. Presentations were delivered on "Pacific research (1)" (Session 3, chair: Patrick Vakaoti); "Policy, culture and education" (Session 4, chair: Professor Philip Hill); "Pacific Research (2)" (Session 5, chair: Dr Patrick Vakaoti) and "Infectious diseases (2)" (Session 6, chair: Professor John Crump).

Te Vaiaho O Te Gagana Tokelau (Tokelau Language Week), 27 October – 2 November 2019

The Tokelau Language Week is seventh and final Pacific Language Week in the year. "Tiutiuga a Tautai ma Figo auā te lumanaki o Fānau – Mastery of traditional knowledge, skills, expertise and leadership help shape the future".

For more information visit: https://www.mpp.govt.nz/language-culture-and-identity/pacific-language-weeks/tokelau-language-week/

Faahi Tapu He Vagahau Niue (Niue Language Week), 13 – 19 October 2019

The Niue Language Week is the sixth language week in the year. "Tokiofa, Ofania, Mokoina e vagahau Niue – Treasure, Love and cherish the Niue language"

For more information visit: https://www.mpp.govt.nz/language-culture-and-identity/pacific-language-weeks/niue-language-week/

Pacific ALM 5 (Advanced Learning in Medicine) MOSCE (Mock Objective Structured Clinical Examination), 9 October 2019

Our Pacific 5th year medical students were able to get a chance to have an additional run through MOSCE for them.

Chayce Glass, Māori Trainee Intern at the University of Otago Wellington assisted the Pacific Office with setting this up. Stations were set up for the MOSCE, with the help of Dr Luatupu Ioane-Cleverly, Dr Prabal Mishra, Tea Vaeau (Pacific Trainee Intern) and Chayce Glass as our markers, marking the students' performance. The Associate Dean (Pacific), Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu, was able to come and support the students, along with Tina Uiese, a Pacific Staff member in the Department of Public Health.

Te Folauga (The Journey) Book Launch, New Zealand Parliament, 7 October 2019

Te Folauga, translated as "The Journey" book launch is an event hosted by the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr David Clark to celebrate Pacific success in Health Sciences at the University of Otago. Te Folauga is a limited printed edition that also marks the 10th year since the first Associate Dean (Pacific) position established in Health Sciences. The staff and friends of Va'a o Tautai, the Pacific Centre, led by the Associate Dean (Pacific) for the Division of Health Sciences, Faumuina Associate Professor Fa'afetai Sopoaga, put the book together.

Niuean/Samoan sibling trio of doctors performed a song titled "The Journey" in the English, Niuean and Samoan languages at the book launch. These Niuean/Samoan siblings, Doctors Alvin, Allen and Adrienne Mitikulena also own and operate their own family practise, Kilbirnie Medical Centre where they all work as General Practitioners.

Macawa Ni Vosa Vaka Viti (Fiji Language Week), 6 – 12 October 2019

The Fiji Language Week is the fifth language week in the year. "Na noqu vosa – ai takele ni noqui tovo – My language anchors my culture"

For more information visit: https://www.mpp.govt.nz/language-culture-and-identity/pacific-language-weeks/fijian-language-week/

University of Otago Information Fono for Wellington Pacific Secondary School students and parents, 6 October 2019

The University dream: Pacific students succeeding at university is an outreach event targeted at future University of Otago Pacific students. This event was organised by the Pacific Island Centre, based in Dunedin, under the supervision of Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai, the Manager, and the Pacific Islands Community Liaison Officer, Christine Anesone at Lyall Bay. This event allowed Pacific secondary students interested in pursuing studies at the University of Otago to come along and listen to the staff and alumni of the University talk about their journeys.

Health Sciences Division Pacific Strategic Framework Discussion, 6 October 2019

The discussion allowed the Pacific academic staff of the University of Otago from Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington to come together and gather information for a new Pacific Research Strategy for the Division. The Associate Dean (Pacific) Wellington was able to make it to this and contribute ideas to the team.

October 2019 Te Vaiaso o te 'Gana Tuvalu (Tuvalu Language Week), 29 September – 5 October

The Tuvalu Language Week is the fourth Pacific Language week in the year. "Lakei mo te manuia ataeao – Striving for a prosperous future" is the theme for this year. This year, the Pacific nation of Tuvalu, on the 1st October, celebrates 41 years of independence from its former British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands.

For more information visit: https://www.mpp.govt.nz/language-culture-and-identity/pacific-language-weeks/tuvalu-language-week/

Pacific Academic Staff Caucus (PASC) Inaugural Symposium, 27 September 2019

The PASC Inaugural Symposium was held on 27 September 2019 St Margaret's College, University of Otago in Dunedin.

Pasifika Students in Health New Zealand (PaSHNZ) Le Tautua Networking Dinner, 21 September 2019

PaSHNZ (pronounced passions) is a 'registered charity that aims to improve Pacific health outcomes by encouraging a more competent, confident and connected future Pacific health force'. Le Tautua Networking Dinner hosted by PaSHNZ in collaboration with Pacific Island Health Professional Students' Association (PIHPSA) allowed Pacific students studying health related courses to come together and connect with each other. The University of Otago Wellington Pacific students attended this dinner as well. Nursing, physiotherapy and medical students from all over Wellington were present on the night, as well as a few current Pacific health professionals.

Tongan Research Symposium, Nuku'alofa, Tonga, 18 – 21 September 2019

This conference was held in Nuku'alofa, Tonga from the 18–21 September 2019. University of Otago Wellington research work was presented and included: Pacific Perspectives – towards a new Penicillin for Rheumatic Fever & Rheumatic Heart Disease; Penicillin Reformulation – towards a new Penicillin for Rheumatic Fever & Rheumatic Heart Disease; The applicability of ctDNA for early Cancer Detection.

University of Otago Wellington (UOW) Pacific Office visits St Mary's College, 10 September 2019

The visit to St Mary's College coincided with Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. We attended the St Mary's College's senior assembly. Toa Waaka, Rautaki Hononga Māori – Māori Stategic Framework Project Manager, Leigh Andrews (Kia Ora Hauora Central Coordinator) and Kealy-Rei Sanford (Māori 5th year medical student), Kristy Wilson, Tina Uiese and Sepola Faavae were amongst those in attendance. Time was given to the students to ask questions about the University of Otago Wellington as well as the Kia Ora Hauora programme.

Principal Mrs Catherine Ryan invited the University of Otago Wellington staff and students for morning tea in her office and were given the invitation to come again for the Junior's assembly in the future. The connection made is one that we are grateful for and looking forward to harness in the future.

Ministry of Health Pacific Education Action Plan Fono, 5 September 2019

"Pacific Education Priorities and Perspectives"; 5 September, 2019, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Ministry of Health Pacific Health Action Plan Fono, 5 September 2019

"Pacific Health Priorities and Perspectives"; 5 September, 2019, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e lea Faka-Tonga (Tonga Language Week), 1 - 7 September 2019

Tonga Language Week is the third Pacific language week in the year. Fakakoloa 'o Aotearoa 'aki e Tauhi Fonua - A Tongan Perspective of Enriching Aotearoa, New Zealand is the theme for this year.

For more information visit: https://www.mpp.govt.nz/language-culture-and-identity/pacific-language-weeks/tonga-language-week/

University of Otago Wellington (UOW) Pacific Office visits St Catherine’s College, 21 August 2019

St Catherine’s College’s Poly Club was invited by the University of Otago Pacific Office to perform on the night of the Pacific Office Opening and later on was also had students who were part of Ngā Maioha O te Rangikauia Kapa Haka group that performed at the Kākahu Naming and Dedication ceremony. The University of Otago Wellington’s Associate Dean (Pacific) Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu, together with Māori and Pacific staff and students of the University of Otago Wellington, attended St Catherine’s College Cultural Assembly to thank the Māori and Pacific students and St Catherine’s College for the beautiful and outstanding performances on both occasions.

On behalf of the University of Otago Wellington, Dr Sika-Paotonu relay sincere thanks and gratitude to St Catherine’s College, staff, students and those involved in the preparations for the two celebratory special ceremonies: the University of Otago Wellington Pacific Office Opening and the Kākahu Naming and Dedication ceremony. Ripeka Moriarty and Toni Anitelea (5th year Māori and Pacific medical students) were able to also use the opportunity to share about their journeys with the students of St Catherine’s College with the hope that it will inspire the students to pursue a health career.

At the end, University of Otago Wellington, staff and students were able to spend time giving the students another opportunity to ask more questions and find out information about the University and what it has to offer. St Catherine’s College are excited about the connection made and both parties are looking forward to where this journey takes us.

Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF)/Rheumatic Heart Diseases (RHD) Symposium, Auckland, 19 August 2019

On 19 August, 2019, a Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease symposium was held in Auckland. Entitled “Appraising Rheumatic Fever and Heart Disease” this symposium was held in honour of Professor Diana Lennon a New Zealand clinician instrumental in raising awareness of the issue of Rheumatic Fever in New Zealand and who suddenly passed away in 2018, and was also a gathering to communicate and highlight some of the Rheumatic Fever related research work being undertaken. Dianne Sika-Paotonu from the University of Otago Wellington, was one of the keynote speakers and presented work entitled: Pacific Perspectives – towards a new Penicillin for Rheumatic Fever & Rheumatic Heart Disease” & “Penicillin Reformulation – towards a new Penicillin for Rheumatic Fever & Rheumatic Heart Disease”. The symposium overall covered primary prevention, clinical care and current research.

University of Otago Wellington (UOW), Kākahu Naming and Dedication Ceremony, 14 August 2019

On 14 August 2019, a significant and special Kākahu Naming and Dedication ceremony was held in Wellington. “Ko te iti kahurangi” is the special name given to the Kākahu presented to the University of Otago Wellington. The beautiful kākahu was two years in the making and is a living art piece that illustrates the significance of te ao Māori for the University of Otago Wellington. It represents Te Kotahitanga o Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Rauwaka and Te Āti Awa, and reflects the high value the University of Otago places on its relationships with the iwi of this rohe.

Ngā Maioha o Te Rangikauia is a Kapa Haka group made up of students from St Catherine’s College, St Mary’s College and St Patrick’s College. Following every speaker, Ngā Maioha o Te Rangikauia performed a waiata tautoko.

The Kākahu embodies the whakatauki of the University of Otago. It pays special tribute to the importance of relationships between iwi, and beween the Univer and Mana Whenua of Te Ika a Māui me Te Waka a Māui (The North and South Islands). It provides pūrākau (storytelling) through the depth of korero found within the designs and motifs depicted.

The Kākahu reflects the Ngā Mātāpono, the guiding principles of our Māori Strategic Framework:

  • Te arahina me te honohono – Leadership and partnership
  • Te rangahau Māori – Māori research
  • Ngā whakahaerenga pai – Quality programmes and teaching
  • Ngā taonga tuku iho – Te reo and tikanga Māori
  • Te taumata angitu Māori – Māori student success
  • Te whakapakaritanga o ngā kaimahi Māori – Māori staff growth and development

Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei | Seek the treasure you value most dearly, if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain.

This Kākahu will support us on significant occasions, denoting the mana, privilege, and responsibilities of students and staff as we journey through our academic and professional lives.

Ministry of Health, Pacific Health Action Plan Fono – Wellington, 12 August 2019

“Pacific Health Priorities and Perspectives”; Participant. 12th August 2019, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand. A series of Pacific consultation fono run by the Ministry of Health Pacific team have been held across New Zealand. On 12th August, one of these was held in Wellington and hosted by Victoria University of Wellington. In attendance was the Hon. Jenny Salesa, Minister for Building and Construction; Customs; Ethnic Communities and the Associate Minister for Education and Health.

Lancet Oncology Series SIDS Launch, 6 August 2019

One of the papers from the Lancet Oncology Series SIDS cancer control publications, was launched at the 13th Pacific Health Ministers Meeting which was held in Tahiti, French Polynesia. Led by Professor Diana Sarfati from University of Otago Wellington and co-authored by Aiono Professor Alec Ekeroma, this is the first publication of a major series on cancer control in small island nations published in The Lancet Oncology.

For more information visit: https://www.otago.ac.nz/wellington/news/otago716053.html

Milestone celebration as Pacific Office opens at Wellington campus, 31 July 2019

A formal ceremonial and multicultural celebration was held at the University of Otago, Wellington late last month, to mark the official opening of the school’s first Pacific Office.

The special occasion brought together Pacific community representatives, health, education and public sector leaders, church and community leaders, government leaders and members of parliament, Pacific nation representatives and University of Otago leaders, health professionals, and staff and students past and present.

Guests were welcomed with a Mihi Whakatau led by the Rautaki Hononga Māori (Māori Strategic Framework Project Manager), Toa Waaka, followed by a celebration in honour of the many Pacific nations that were represented.

Speakers at the opening included the Associate Health and Education Minister and New Zealand’s first Tongan-born and Tongan-speaking Member of Parliament and Cabinet, Hon. Jenny Salesa, and the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Hon. Aupito Tofae Su’a William Sio. Opening remarks were given by the University Chancellor, Dr Royden Somerville QC, and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University’s Health Sciences Division Professor Paul Brunton.

The Dean and Head of the Wellington Campus, Professor Sunny Collings, says the School’s aim is to train increasing numbers of Pacific scientists, researchers and health professionals to help meet the health needs of the diverse Pacific communities in Wellington, New Zealand, and the Pacific.

Associate Dean (Pacific) Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu, who heads the new Pacific Office in Wellington, says the University of Otago remains committed to supporting the training of a health workforce that is well-qualified to meet the health system demands in New Zealand and address the needs of its increasingly diverse population groups.

University of Otago Wellington (UOW) Pacific Office Blessing and Official Opening Ceremony, 31 July 2019

On the 31 July 2019, the University of Otago Wellington Pacific Office held a blessing ceremony to mark the blessing and official opening of the office spaces. The Pacific Office blessing, led by Mr Toa Waaka, Rautaki Hononga Māori – Māori Strategic Framework Project Manager was conducted prior to the official opening later that same evening. The Pacific Office blessing was attended by our Dean and Head of Campus, Professor Sunny Collings, our Associate Dean (Māori) Associate Professor Bridget Robson, our Associate Dean (Pacific) Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu, the Head of Department for Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Women’s Health, Aiono Professor Alec Ekeroma, our Associate Dean (Pacific) from the Christchurch campus, Dr Kiki Maoate, Dr Viliami Puloka, Dr Ramona Tiatia and other University of Otago Wellington Pacific staff were also in attendance.

In the evening, there was a formal ceremonial and multicultural celebration held to officially open the University of Otago Wellington Pacific Office, a first for the university in Wellington. The guests were welcomed with a Mihi Whakatau by Toa Waaka. This milestone event brought together our government leaders and members of parliament, our Pacific governments representatives in New Zealand, our Pacific community representatives, health, education and public sector leaders, church and community leaders, government leaders, our University of Otago leadership, our University of Otago Pacific leaders, University of Otago Wellington staff, health professionals, staff and students, past and present.

The speakers for the evening included opening remarks from the University of Otago Chancellor, Dr Royden Somerville QC and Professor Paul Brunton, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Division of Health Sciences, with Professor Richard Barker the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University’s Sciences Division and Professor Peter Crampton who was the previous Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University’s Health Sciences Division also in attendance. Our Associate Health and Education Minister, Hon. Jenny Salesa and the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Hon. Aupito Tofae Su’a William Sio were amongst those speaking.

The University of Otago Wellington Dean and Head of Campus, Professor Sunny Collings, a focus for the school is to train increasing numbers of Pacific scientists, researchers and health professionals to help meet the health needs of the diverse Pacific communities in Wellington, New Zealand and the Pacific. “The University is also seeking to increase the numbers of Pacific staff members and support their professional development, in addition to encouraging stronger links with our Pacific communities within New Zealand, and also extending further into the Pacific region and beyond.”

Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu, Associate Dean (Pacific) is the head of the Pacific Office. She acknowledges the University of Otago for the physical space that will be utilised by Pacific staff to further support our strong and growing Pacific presence at the Wellington Medical School that includes our Pacific 4th, 5th, 6th year medical students, radiation and physiotheraphy students and postgraduate students. This is also a physical space where Pacific staff can continue to focus on supporting Pacific students with their studies, with an emphasis on recruitment and retention, and most importantly the successful completion of their studies.

The official opening of the Pacific office is a demonstration of the University of Otago’s committment to meeting the goals laid out in the University’s Pacific Strategic Framework: showing leadership on Pacific matters; encouraging Pacific research excellence; strengthening community engagement; promoting growth and development; and encouraging the development of Pacific curricula.

Our Pacific academic leaders from the University of Otago were also in attendance and included Associate Dean (Pacific) Health Sciences Division, and Head of the Va’a o Tautai Pacific Health group, Faumuina Associate Professor Fa’afetai Sopoaga, Associate Dean (Pacific) at the University of Otago, Christchurch and President of the Pasifika Medical Association, Dr Kiki Maoate, Associate Dean Pacific (Sciences), Dr Mele Taumoepeau, Associate Dean Pacific (Commerce) Esmay Lemalu-Eteuati, Pacific Academic Staff Caucus (PASC) Chair and Pacific Research Fellow, Dr Ramona Tiatia, Senior Health Promotion Strategist, Dr Viliami Puloka, and Dr Telesia Kalavite from Te Tumu - the School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies.

Aiono Professor Ekeroma, who was welcomed at the evening, regards the new office opening as being a major win for Pasifika health and signals a commitment to growing the Pacific health workforce. He offered his deep gratitude to University leaders for creating the Pacific Office. “You are providing a beacon for Pacific voyages and giving passage for Pacific navigators to thrive academically and in leadership roles at the University of Otago,” he told those at the opening.

For those who were unable to make it, this is a short clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLniRwyBHeMm

The 21st Annual Cook Islands Health Conference, 10 – 12 July 2019

The 21st Cook Islands Annual Health Conference was held in Rarotonga from 10th – 12th July, 2019, 15th – 16th July on Aitutaki and 18th July on Atiu. The co-convenor for this conference was Dr Kiki Maoate from University of Otago Christchurch. University of Otago based research work including University of Otago Wellington work was presented. The feedback from those in attendance was also positive with a diverse array of research works and projects presented.

The Pacific Society for Reproductive Health (PSRH), 13th Biennial Scientific Meeting, 6 – 11 July 2019

The Pacific Society for Reproductive Health hosted its 13th Biennial Scientific Meeting and was held from 6th – 11th July 2019 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. One of the co-conveners was Aiono Professor Alec Ekeroma from the University of Otago Wellington. University of Otago based research work was presented at this conference. The feedback from those in attendance was positive and acknowledged the breadth and depth of research work presented.

For more information: https://conference2019.psrh.org.nz/

Pacific Immersion Programme (PIP) Christchurch, 5 – 7 July 2019

The second Pacific Immersion Programme in Christchurch was successfully run from 5th – 7th July 2019 by Dr Allamanda Faatoese and Dr Kiki Maoate. Over the weekend, 78 Pacific families in Christchurch hosted 100 medical students over two days. The immediate verbal and written feedback showed the 4th year Medical students enjoyed themselves and had positive learning experiences. A formative assessment piece will also be completed by all the University of Otago Christchurch students that are involved. Teams from the University of Otago, in Dunedin and Wellington were also present to help with and support running of the Programme.

Medical Curriculum Committee (MCC) Pacific Health Domain Curriculum Approval for Health Sciences Division, 28 June 2019

On 28 June 2019, recommendations presented by the Pacific Health Curriculum Working Group (PHCWG) to the Medical Curriculum Committee (MCC) Meeting, in Christchurch to establish a Pacific Health Domain were accepted and approved. This is a milestone achievement for Pacific Health teaching at the University of Otago. A Pacific Health Domain will facilitate the University of Otago Medical School continuing to take the leading edge in medical education in relation to Pacific Health. A Domain structure, with the same committee structures and reporting lines as other Domains (and thus accountabilities), will enable strong leadership of the Pacific Health curriculum, whilst promoting, and signaling the intent to integrate with other central components of the MBChB curriculum.

Highlighting UOW based Pacific PhD graduate, 18 May 2019

Dr Emma Dunlop-Bennett completed her University of Otago PhD. Emma is a Pacific Studies student based in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Women's Health, UOW.  Her thesis topic “Through their eyes. A Samoan perspective on child wellbeing.” (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). Emma graduated and received her PhD in the May Graduation Ceremony in Dunedin.

UOW Master’s Thesis Publication, 18 May 2019

Loma Veatupu's MPH work has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Thesis Title: Me’akai in Tonga: Exploring the Nature and Context of the Food Tongan Children Eat in Ha’apai Using Wearable Cameras. Authors: Loma Veatupu, Viliami Puloka, Moira Smith, Christina McKerchar, Louise Signal Authors: Loma Veatupu, Viliami Puloka, Moira Smith, Christina McKerchar, Louise Signal.

UOW He Kete Kōrero Autumn Newsletter highlights Pacific achievements, 16 April 2019

UOW Pacific summer studentship winner and UOW based Pacific research highlighted: Bridie Laing is a 5th Year Medical student who won the UOW Summer Scholar Studentship Competition held on 22nd March, 2019 for the Penicillin related Rheumatic Fever research she was involved with over the Summer. Rheumatic Fever related research work at UOW highlighted.

Pacific Health Dialogue Editorial by Aiono Professor Alec Ekeroma highlighted: In an editorial in Pacific Health Dialog, the Head of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Women’s Health, Aiono Professor Alec Ekeroma, discusses our collective response to racism and intolerance.

He Kete Kōrero – Autumn 2019 (PDF 134KB)

Our collective response to racism and intolerance

PHD Cover March 2019

In this editorial, published in Pacific Health Dialog Journal, Alec Ekeroma reflects on the “unspeakable atrocity that hit the shores of Aotearoa New Zealand” on 15 March 2019.

Aiono Professor Alec Ekeroma leads the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Otago in Wellington. He is also the Editor in Chief of the Pacific Health Dialog and the Pacific Journal of Reproductive Health.

Editorial – Our collective response to racism and intolerance (PDF 134KB)

23rd IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion, 7 - 11 April 2019, Rotorua, Aotearoa New Zealand

The Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand, the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) and partners come together to host this important global public health event, in Rotorua, New Zealand in April 2019. The aim is to provide an unparalleled opportunity to link and demonstrate the contribution of health promotion to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to acknowledge the way SDGs contribute to improvements in health and wellbeing. Our UOW Pacific presenters include Dr Ramona Tiatia and Ms Johanna Nee Nee.

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Public Lecture

This Public Lecture event coincided with the launch of the University of Otago’s commitment to the Give Nothing to Racism campaign led by NZ’s Human Rights Commission. In light of this, arrangements had been made for UOW to join the “Give Nothing to Racism” presentations by Livestream that were held in Dunedin today being given by the Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt, Director for the Office of Maori Development at University of Otago Tuari Potiki, and Harlene Hayne our VC. This particular event was supported and promoted by the marketing team at the University of Otago campuses - and at the UOW site, via promotion by our Dean, Associate Dean (Māori), Mr Toa Waaka and Associate Dean (Pacific). The overall intent was to help explore some of the actions to help drive the types of positive change exemplified by the Give nothing to racism campaign and also signal continued discussion around raising awareness concerning racism in all its forms.

UOW Vigil held at CCDHB with UOW leadership, staff and students

From all UOW staff and students to all those affected by the Christchurch tragedy, our thoughts and prayers are everyone at this time. Messages of support from UOW Staff and Students for those families directly affected by the shootings are being recorded in Condolence books to be delivered by UOW to each of the Christchurch Mosques with flowers delivered to the Mosque here in Wellington after a visit from UOW on Tuesday 19th March. A staff/student vigil organised by the UOW leadership was held at the Hospital on Tuesday 19th March in memory of those whose lives were lost. A number of other activities and programmes have also been organised and we will continue to support and do what we can from here.

Pacific student wins UOW Summer Studentship Oral Presentation Competition

UOW Summer Scholar Studentship Competition: Of the 55 Summer students at UOW this year, the top 4 finalists were selected and included our first Pacific finalist Bridie Laing who is from the Cook Islands. Bridie is a 5th Year Medical student who then went on to become the overall Winner after the oral competition was completed. Her research project was entitled: The BPG Reformulation Preferences of Children and Young People receiving regular BPG injections for Rheumatic Fever prevention (supervised by Dianne Sika-Paotonu).

UOW Pacific Students Welcome Lunch, 7 March 2019

Held at UOW to welcome all our Pacific students at UOW this year. New Pacific students were able to meet fellow students and also with UOW leaders and support staff.