New Zealand-born Leon Iusitini is of Cook Island, Samoan and Pakeha descent. He has been researching and working on the Pacific Islands Families Study at AUT for nearly 10 years.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Auckland in 2005, Leon undertook a Master of Arts at AUT on the political participation of Pacific people, which he graduated with in 2013.
Working with Pacific people has always been Leon's passion.
Leon says that the state of political participation amongst Pacific people, and what could be done to lift it, is very important to him.
His motivation for his thesis came from wanting to be able to teach Pacific people.
“If you don’t vote, or if certain groups of people in New Zealand vote less than other groups, then ultimately that’s going to lead to a bias in representation in Parliament, and ultimately, a bias in policy outcomes.
"If you don’t vote, then your interests aren’t going to be represented.”