New book integral to promoting Pacific research

16 Sep, 2014
 
Peggy_Fairbairn_Dunlop
Professor Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop promoting Talanoa: Building a Pasifika Research Culture

A new book edited by Auckland University of Technology (AUT) Professor of Pacific Studies Tagaloatele Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop, and University of Auckland Associate Professor Eve Coxon brings together the work of Pacific researchers across New Zealand universities, raising their profile and the issues facing Pacific communities in New Zealand and overseas.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Professor Fairbairn-Dunlop says this publication, and the coordination of the national Pacific Post Graduate (PPG) Talanoa Series - a joint project across New Zealand universities and delivered using Access Grid/Scopia videoconference technology - demonstrates AUT’s support to Pacific research and Pacific researchers.

“For the past seven years, Pacific post-graduates from all New Zealand universities have been meeting twice monthly through the PPG Talanoa Series, and in 2013 almost 700 joined the sessions, discussed their research and debated openly about Pacific research processes.”

The eleven-chapter book present a rich sample of some of these Pacific post-graduate research subjects and methodologies employed.

AUT Professor Richard Bedford, who has done significant research on the spatial mobility of Pacific peoples, was a key speaker at the ceremony.

“This book is a fantastic example of the contribution our post-graduate researchers are making towards advancing issues facing Pacific communities,” says Professor Bedford.

Professor Fairbairn-Dunlop says that for all the writers, their contribution is more than just a chapter in the book.

“Their contribution are significant knowledge building journeys which are all helping put Pacific research, and its significance in New Zealand and overseas in the spotlight.”

The PPG Talanoa Series also attracts researchers from non-government organisations, government ministries and departments, as well as researchers from the University of the South Pacific (USP) and the National University of Samoa (NUS).

“Their involvement goes a long way to helping grow and consolidate the Pacific research community,” says Professor Fairbairn-Dunlop.

“The PPG Talanoa Series are also interdisciplinary - this is the way knowledge is constructed in Pacific communities. Academic staff at each university coordinate their sessions and on any day there can be a mix of social, humanities and pure science research.”

Associate Director of the Pacific Islands Families Study at AUT, Dr El-Shadan Tautolo, whose research on the health and wellbeing of a cohort of more than 800 Pacific fathers, their fathering practices and how they influence and shape the health and well-being of their children, features in the book, says it is an honour and privilege to be a part of the publication.

Dr Tautolo completed his doctoral studies in 2011 as the recipient of a Health Research Council (HRC) Pacific PhD Scholarship.

“During the course of undertaking my doctoral research, I got married and become a father myself, so you could say that I ended up living my own research”.

“It’s great to see this body of work really come to life, and be recognised.”

Co-editor Eve Coxon says the publication was a fantastic achievement for all contributors and noted that for some researchers, such as Dr Telesia Kalavite from the University of Waikato, this was their very first publication.

Professor Fairbairn-Dunlop adds that although the numbers of Pacific post-graduate researchers are growing, their representation is still on the lower end of the scale.

“Our hope is that the PGG Talanoa Series, via Access Grid, will continue breaking down the feelings of academic and geographic isolation Pacific students might experience, ultimately boosting the number of Pacific students and Pacific post-graduate researchers contributing actively to building a Pacific research culture.

Talanoa: Building a Pasifika Research Culture can be ordered online at www.dunmore.co.nz. A special price of $33 will apply to orders lodged before the end of August 2014 – email books@dunmore.co.nz and quote ‘Talanoa Special price’.

List of contributors:
Charlotte Bedford, Tui Nicola Clery, Eve Cozon, Tagaloatele Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop, Jared Mackley-Crump, Telesia Kalavite, Litea Meo-Sewabu, Karlo Mila, Tanya Samu, El-Shadan Tautolo, Nina Tonga, Ruth Toumu’a, and Patrick Vakaoti.

For more information, please contact:

Professor Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop
Professor of Pacific Studies
AUT University
09 921 999 extn 6203