In the early 1980s, Maiava Carmel Peteru began working as a community worker with Wellington Pacific communities. From there she transitioned to the Pacific health sector working in a range of programme and policy roles. She has spent 30 years working as a researcher and document writer on issues concerning Pacific peoples, the most recent of these being family violence.
Maiava credits her outlook on life to being raised in the church, family role models and mentoring from strong Pacific women during her formative years. Her passion continues to be supporting issues of social justice and transforming social and cultural structures which create environments that sustain Pacific peoples wellbeing.
Seuta'afili Dr Patrick Thomsen
Seuta’afili Dr Patrick Thomsen is of Samoan descent and was born and raised in South Auckland. He was the first Samoan and New Zealander to receive their doctorate from the University of Washington in Seattle’s Jackson School of International Studies and was also the first Samoan to receive their Masters of International Studies from Seoul National University in South Korea. His doctorate was the first to use Pacific research methodologies to help inform a project in Korean queer studies around gay men’s sexual visibility.
Before commencing doctoral studies, Dr Thomsen was a Research Fellow at the East Asia Institute, an international relations focused think tank based in Seoul. He completed his BA in political studies from the University of Auckland where he also held many student representative roles prior to moving to South Korea. He was the President of the Auckland University Pacific Island Students’ Association, the Education Vice President, Cultural Affairs Officer and Pacific Island Students’ Officer for the Auckland University Students’ Association and was selected as the first Pacific student representative to the Tertiary Education Commission’s former Learner Advisory Committee under the Helen Clark Labour-led government.
In 2019 he returned to New Zealand to take up an inaugural Te Tomokanga Postdoctoral Fellowship with the Faculty of Arts at the University of Auckland. He is now a Lecturer in Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland where he teaches the Contemporary Pacific and Gender and the Pacific in a Globalising World course. He also teaches into the gender studies, Asian studies and global studies programs, while supervising postgraduate student projects.
His on-going research focuses on Pacific Rainbow LGBTIQA+ MVPFAFF communities and their health and wellbeing. As well as leading the Manalagi Project recently funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand, he is also the Pacific Data Co-Lead for the Human Rights Measurement Initiative. Dr Thomsen also wears the hat of social commentator, consultant and freelance writer, having published articles in many newspaper publications including The Diplomat, E-Tangata, Radio New Zealand, Coconet TV, Newshub and the Pantograph Punch.
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