Liz Fanueli

Research Assistant - Pacific Islands Families (PIF) Study

Liz Fanueli’s mum and dad instilled in her at a young age the importance of education.

“They were always on my back about my futures and what I wanted to be when I grew up, they went to every parent/teacher interview. They always pushed me,” says Liz.

Their motivation has paid off: Liz graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science in 2014, a Postgraduate Diploma in Pacific Health in 2015, and has recently graduated with her Master of Public Health in 2017 at the University of Auckland, before landing a position here with the Pacific Islands Families (PIF) Study.

As part of her thesis, Liz looked at Samoan women family caregivers of elderly family members suffering from terminal illnesses.

“I’m here to improve the health and well- being of our elders.”

“I looked at the palliative and hospice services the elderly’s need, and the caregiver’s understanding of the types of services the elderly needs as well as the support services caregivers need.

“I wanted to look at the elderly population because I believe they are the forgotten population – there is a very limited amount of research conducted about the elderly and their caregivers, especially among the Pacific.”

Coming to AUT, Liz is excited to use and expand the research she conducted for her Master’s thesis, through the PIF Study project Healthy Pacific Grandparents.

Culture connection

Liz says she is inspired by wanting to improve the health, wellbeing and lives of Samoan caregivers and elders.

“I want to understand the challenges and their experiences – there is so much research we can do. I also want to conduct research in order to get health programmes up and running in our communities.”

Being part of the PIF Study team, Liz says she is able to bring to work all the values she has learnt growing up.

“It’s amazing to be able to interview people in the Samoan language and show them respect. I’ve used all the values I’ve been taught: respect, reciprocity, love, and culturing the space between my elders and I.”