A Pacific language video series by Auckland University of Technology will highlight the Pacific Islands Families (PIF) Study’s work in shaping resilient futures for Pacific communities in Aotearoa.
The PIF Study – now in its twentieth year – is the largest longitudinal study of its kind. Based at the AUT South Campus in South Auckland, it continues to follow more than 1,300 Pacific children born at Middlemore Hospital in the year 2000, and their parents, with a focus on health and wellbeing over key developmental stages.
Major outcomes from the study have included the development of guidelines around hearing screening for infants, key smoking statistics amongst Pacific adults, and data showing the positive influence of cultural resiliency and identity.
Led by AUT’s Office of Pacific Advancement, the video series – ‘Adapting to a changing world, shaping resilient futures’ – will explore cultural resilience and health, immunisation, father involvement, nutrition, mental health, and more.
The release of each video will tie in with the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ broader Pacific Language Weeks initiative. The research from the PIF Study will be told in the nine Pacific languages being celebrated in Aotearoa: Rotuman, Samoan, I-Kiribati, Cook Islands Māori, Tongan, Tuvaluan, Fijian, Niuean, and Tokelauan.
The Pacific Media Network (PMN) will be a key collaborator on the project, in particular providing translation and voiceover services, to ensure the language is appropriately reflected in each video.
Director of the PIF Study, Associate Professor El-Shadan Tautolo, says the current COVID-19 pandemic has had significant inequitable impacts on Pacific people in Aotearoa.
“This pandemic has highlighted more than ever, that there is the need for work like the PIF Study to ensure a more resilient future for our Pacific communities in Aotearoa and abroad.
“We need to have a deep understanding of those pressure points within our Pacific communities, the role of our Pacific cultures and values, and work collectively towards appropriate strategies.”
AUT Assistant Vice-Chancellor South Campus & Pacific Advancement, Walter Fraser, says AUT has been celebrating the Pacific Language Weeks since 2014.
“For us, however, it’s not about simply celebrating the language – it’s also about exploring those aspects whereby we can collaborate with our Pacific communities in Aotearoa and show the work we have being doing, as a university for the past twenty years, to help our communities adapt to a constantly changing environment,” says Mr Fraser.
Over the years, the PIF Study has received significant funding grants from the Health Research Council of New Zealand, as well as from Governmental and charitable entities.
Associate Professor El-Shadan Tautolo says the grants have helped bolster the Study.
"It's increased the scope of our research so that we can gather even more rich qualitative and quantitative data on our PIF Study cohort to shape insights that will contribute to effecting positive change in our corner of the world.
“Our goal is for this research to drive decision making at local, national and international levels and arm agencies and policy-makers with new knowledge about Pacific children growing up here and ultimately build resilience amongst our communities.”