Hilda Port

Master of Health candidate

A naturopath and masseuse by trade, Hilda Port - who is of Tongan, and European descent - completed a Bachelor of Health Science (Hons). She is currently completing a Master of Health Science in Psychology.

During her honours year, Hilda conducted longitudinal research on the patterns of kava usage and its subsequent effects on Pacific families in South Auckland.

For her current research, she is developing a kava survey questionnaire to take to the community. She hopes to use the answers to help develop a kava-usage inventory to be utilised in hospitals and social service agencies. Hilda hopes this will help to identify if there is any problematic kava use and aims to then use this information to help guide interventions.

Hilda’s research is driven by a passion for her family and culture. After hearing about adverse effects of excessive kava-consumption and with the findings from the Pacific Islands Families (PIF) Study, she believes it has become necessary to investigate evolving patterns of kava consumption.

Hilda gives an example of an increase in kava consumption across all Pacific Island cultures, including the numbers of kava consumers drinking kava alone. This may be in contrast to the traditional use of kava.

"If there is evidence that kava consumption is problematic we need psychometric measures in place to screen for that and then to inform appropriate therapeutic interventions.”