2017 Pacific news and events

Pacific community celebration event hosted by UOW welcomes new Associate Dean (Pacific)

Dianne Sika-Paotonu at Pacific Celebration

UOW recently hosted a Pacific community celebration event to formally welcome the new Associate Dean (Pacific) Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu. This event was organised by the Associate Dean (Pacific) Health Sciences Division Faumuina Associate Professor Faafetai Sopoaga and the Pacific team based in Dunedin in collaboration with the UOW based Pacific team.

This event was also organised to demonstrate UOW's renewed commitment to strengthening pre-existing relationships with our Pacific communities and establishing new partnerships. The evening was well attended by the Pacific communities in acknowledgement of UOW's commitment to Pacific peoples locally and in the region.

Pacific Celebration
IMAGE: (L-R) Professor Pete Ellis, Dr Ate Moala, Associate Professor Bridget Robson, Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu, Professor Sunny Collings, Faumuina Associate Professor Faafetai Sopoaga, Ms Matafanua Hilda Fa'asalele

UOW welcomes new Associate Dean (Pacific) with a Whakatau pōwhiri service

Dianne Sika-Paotonu, Robyn Maude
IMAGE: Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu with Dr Robyn Maude at the UOW Whakatau pōwhiri service

The new Associate Dean (Pacific) Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu was formally welcomed to the UOW on the morning of 6th December 2017. The Whakatau pōwhiri service was organised and undertaken by Toa Waaka Rautaki Hononga Māori (Māori Strategic Framework Project Manager) and the Te Rōpū Rangahau Hauora a Eru Pōmare team under the leadership of the UOW Associate Dean (Maori) Associate Professor Bridget Robson. Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu comes to us from Victoria University of Wellington and will also work as an academic scientist based in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine with Associate Professor Diane Kenwright and her team. In her new roles, Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu will continue and build on the excellent work undertaken by Dr Nandika Curry the previous Associate Dean (Pacific) at UOW.

Dianne Sika-Paotonu, Robyn Maude, Reno Paotonu, Keri Lawson-Te Aho, Ate Moala, Ramona Tiatia
IMAGE: (L-R) Mr Reno Paotonu, Dr Keri Lawson-Te Aho, Dr Robyn Maude, Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu, Dr Ate Moala, Dr Ramona Tiatia

New Pacific Academic Staff Caucus (PASC) Chair Dr Ramona Tiatia from UOW

Dunedin PASC Group
IMAGE: (L-R) Dr Christiane Leurquin, Dr Mele Taumoepeau, Dr Ramona Tiatia, Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu, Ms Talai Mapusua, Dr Rose Richards Hessell

On 1st December 2017, Dr Ramona Tiatia from the UOW was elected as the incoming chair for the Pacific Academic Staff Caucus (PASC), previously held by Professor Rex Tauati Ahdar. The Otago Pacific Academic Staff Caucus (PASC), was formally launched on 11th July 2016 and its purpose is to support Pacific academic staff at the University of Otago. PASC also plans to support teaching and research excellence, while staying in tune with Pacific peoples' worldviews and aspirations. Dr Ramona Tiatia is a Public Health Researcher and works with the He Kainga Oranga/Health Housing Programme. She currently holds a HRC Pacific Postdoctoral Fellowship and her work includes developing a software application for houses and households (A4HH) and also to supports the Rheumatic Fever related Penicillin research work in New Zealand.

UOW Pacific Post-Graduate Research Prize 2017

During the month of November every year undergraduate and postgraduate students from the UOW campus come together to celebrate and acknowledge prize recipients of high academic achievement at the annual University of Otago, Wellington Hui Whakanui Tauira Awards Ceremony and Reception. Held on the 17th November 2017, this year's award recipient for the 2017 Pacific Post-graduate Research prize was Dr. Rachel Dyer. Rachel is currently undertaking a Masters of Public Health.

Rachel Dryer-VC Harlene Hayne
IMAGE: Dr Rachel Dryer and Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne

French National Order of Merit

Presented to her in person, the awards ceremony took place during the celebration at Te Tumu in Dunedin, University of Otago Teaching Fellow Dr. Christine Leurquin was awarded the French National Order of Merit by the French Ambassador Florence Jeanblanc-Risler. This major achievement recognises Dr Leurquin's work supporting the teaching of French as a second language, her years volunteering for the Alliance Française de Dunedin – as both a committee member and President, and her years of service as the French honorary consul in Otago-Southland.

website link : http://www.otago.ac.nz/news/otago669873.html

Christine Leurquin-French National Order of Merit
IMAGE: Dr Tasileta Teevale, Dr Christine Leurquin

Health Research Council of New Zealand Pacific Grants UOW


Over the past 18 months, successful UOW grants in the HRC Pacific Funding rounds have included an HRC Pacific Postdoctoral Award, the HRC Emerging Researcher Pacific Award, the HRC Pacific Knowledge Translation Award and three HRC Pacific Summer Scholarship Awards. In addition, with support of the UOW research office, four HRC Pacific Projects were selected to advance to the full HRC Pacific Project Award application stage.

Rheumatic Fever related Penicillin Research receives Health Research Council of New Zealand funding

Flowers 2

Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu from UOW was recently awarded the HRC Pacific Emerging Researcher Award for the Benzathine Penicillin G (BPG) Pharmacokinetics Study. This project seeks to obtain updated pharmacology information that determines how BPG (which is a type of Penicillin given as painful monthly injections for at least 10 years to those who've had Rheumatic Fever) works in population groups such as children and young people who are predominantly of Pacific and Māori heritage. This information will be used to help generate a more appropriate form of Penicillin that is longer acting and less painful, that would ideally prevent recurrence of Rheumatic Fever and reduce the risk of developing Rheumatic Heart Disease.

Council of Medical Colleges in New Zealand Pacific Forum 2017

Pacific Forum
IMAGE: (L-R) Ms Melissa Fidow, Mr Wilmason Jensen, Ms Debbie Sorensen, Dr Ate Moala, Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu

The Council of Medical Colleges (CMC) in New Zealand held their inaugural Pacific Forum on the 30th November 2017. Speakers for the Pacific Forum included Pacific Health sector leaders, clinicians and researchers who were invited to present on their experiences and research in relation to Pacific Health in New Zealand and in the region. The CMC acts as the voice of the collective Medical Colleges in New Zealand and has developed a statement in relation to its work with Pacific Peoples

University of Otago, Law Professor and Pacific Academic Staff Caucus (PASC) Chair Professor Rex Tauati Ahdar visits UOW

Dianne Sika-Paotonu and PASC Group members
IMAGE: (L-R) Dr Ramona Tiatia, Professor Rex Tauati Ahdar, Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu

Professor Rex Tauati Ahdar from the Faculty of Law University of Otago and PASC Chair, visited the University of Otago Wellington on 17th November 2017. One of the few Pacific professors in New Zealand, Professor Ahdar's research interests include: Competition Law and Policy, Church-State Relations, Religious Freedom, Contract Law, Sports Law. Professor Ahdar was in Wellington to attend meetings with the Dean, Senior and Pacific academic staff members at the UOW and also offer a research presentation entitled: “The Death of Voluntary Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide”. The Otago Pacific Academic Staff Caucus (PASC), was formally launched on 11th July 2016. PASC plans to support teaching and research excellence, while staying in tune with Pacific peoples' worldviews and aspirations.

UOW Postgraduate Pacific Mentor Tina Uiese 2017 -2018

Tina Uiese

Tina Uiese is the Pacific Mentoring Co-ordinator at the University of Otago Wellington. In collaboration with teaching staff and support services available at UOW, efforts to mentor Pacific students at UOW and increase retention and recruitment rates continue and have been well supported in 2017 by Tina, with her role continuing through into the New Year.

2017 BMI Research Seminar Series

This research seminar series will focus on relevant and topical issues supporting the development and delivery of safe, appropriate, equitable care and service provision for very large patients and will be of interest to health and care providers, managers and researchers.

2016 Pacific news and events

Consultation: New Zealand Health Research Strategy

The Ministries of Health and Business, Innovation and Employment, with the Health Research Council (HRC) are consulting on the first New Zealand Health Research Strategy. A joint public consultation process for the strategy will run from mid-June through to the end of July. The development of a strategy is the opportunity to set New Zealand's direction for health research for the next 10 years. It will effectively translate this research into clinical practice, commercial opportunities, and health and social policy.

Regional Focus Group dates 2016

University of Otago Pacific International Health Symposium

22 - 23 November 2016 [Dunedin campus]

The symposium will focus on strengthening Otago's engagement with its regional partners in the areas of teaching, service and research, and will offer a one or two-day registration.

Please note that spaces are limited and early expressions of interest are welcome by emailing pacifichealth@otago.ac.nz

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