Collective purpose motivates new cohort

15 May, 2024
Collective purpose motivates new cohort
Left to right. New appointees: Trish Tupou, Sophie Coomber, Amy Henry, Paulette Brazzale, Marco de Jong, Ioana Mulipola, Chris Puli’uvea and Grace Faletutulu.

Ten new kaihoe (appointees) have been inducted into AUT’s Eke Tangaroa Programme for early-career Māori and Pacific academics.

The new cohort was officially admitted in April with a pōwhiri and celebration of the programme at AUT’s Ngā Wai o Horotiu marae, supported by whānau, friends, and University colleagues.

The programme has had recent success with several academic promotions and research funding success, with two kaihoe receiving Marsden Funding in the 2023 funding round.

The new cohort spans various research areas and disciplines, including nursing, science, law, management, education and Pacific health.

Kaiurungi (Navigator) Professor Georgina Stewart says it’s fantastic to have another generation of kaihoe join the programme.

"The kaihoe are a vibrant exciting group to work with. Our results show what can be done when the rhetoric of equity is partnered with the right resources. So far this year, we've initiated another round of the Marsden Fast-Start project, as well as a group writing project on the topic of ecological civilisation,” she says.

As one of the very few immunologists with Tongan ancestry and possibly the only one who is a native speaker of the Tongan language, new kaihoe Dr Chris Puli'uvea says, he is passionate about supporting Māori and Pacific students in all aspects of his work.

He recalls his father teaching him a saying about ako, which means to learn in Tongan (as well as in te reo): A is for alu—to go out, K is for kumi—to seek, and O is for ‘omai—to bring back for the family or community.

This expression resonated with everyone present in the marae, emphasising the importance of delivering research and academic excellence to make a positive and direct impact on the communities the kaihoe come from.

Eke Tangaroa has been running since 2015 and was initially known as the Māori and Pacific Early Career Academics Programme before 2020. The programme is designed to increase the number of Māori and Pacific doctoral-qualified academic staff at AUT and to help ensure their success in the academy.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Professor Wendy Lawson thanked the families of the appointees for entrusting them to the university.

“We are looking forward to the difference this group will make to our university through their teaching, research and leadership,” she says.

New cohort

  • Dr Tui Matelau (Ngāpuhi and Tonga) – Lecturer in the School of Communication Studies.
  • Dr Marco de Jong (Sāmoa) – Lecturer in the Law School.
  • Sophie Coomber (Waikato-Tainui) – Lecturer in the Law School.
  • Dr Paulette Brazzale (Te Ātiawa- Taranaki Whānui) – Lecturer in Management, Business School.
  • Dr Chris Puli’uvea (Tonga) – Lecturer in Biomedicine and Medical Diagnostics, School of Science.
  • Amy Henry (Cook Islands) – Lecturer in Nursing, School of Clinical Sciences.
  • Grace Faletutulu (Sāmoa) – Appointed to PHIS Pacific Health programme (start date pending completion of doctoral thesis).
  • Dr Ioana Mulipola (Sāmoa) – Lecturer in Nursing, School of Clinical Sciences.
  • Trish Tupou (Tonga) – Lecturer in the School of Public Health and Interdisciplinary Studies. Appointed to PHIS Pacific Health programme.
  • Sione Tekiteki (i-Taukei Fiji) – Senior Lecturer in the Law School (start date July 2024).

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