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MANA is intent on building the evidence-base and research capacity that will support Pasifika communities to thrive.

We are adamant that science and multi-disciplinary research that is underpinned by our traditional values is to be embraced to advance our communities in these times of exponential change.

We have collaborated extensively with the University of Queensland, QUT, University of Auckland, and Griffith University on research projects involving Pasifika peoples across education, health, mental health, justice and cultural competence.

If your organisation is looking to undertake research (particularly with Pasifika peoples), contact our team of multi-disciplinary researchers and peer researchers to discuss your needs. We have the expertise and approach that will assist you.

"Nothing for us, without us."

Our Researchers

Dr Nicola Fa'avale

Dr. Nicola Fa’avale (née Tava’e) is of Samoan, Niuean and Tongan heritage. She has a Bachelors of Health Science, a Postgraduate degree in Public Health, Masters in Public Health, and a PhD in Public Health. Nicola’s passion for promoting Pasifika health drives her work. She is a researcher at the University of Queensland focusing on Pasifika health in South-East Queensland and is Lead Researcher for the MANA Research Centre

Dr Julie Mohok McLaughlin

Juliana Mohok McLaughlin is from Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. For the past 20 years she has been lecturing in Indigenous knowledges, decolonising methodologies, research ethics and protocols of engagement and professional practice. Her research is driven by her passion for Indigenous knowledges and social justice, development and comparative education, decolonising research, curricula and pedagogy.

Dr June Perkins

June is of Bush Mekeo (PNG Indigenous) and Australian background. For the past 14 years she has been implementing her research on empowerment through writing and creativity into designing and mobilising increasingly complex practical cross arts projects which empower communities and individuals. Her work is based on models of participatory action theory combined with intercultural sensitivity and experiential knowledge.

Andrew Fa'avale

Andrew has published research in the fields of education, criminology and health. His research interests are motivated by fostering Pasifika success in the various domains in which he is involved. He has a degree in law and has been admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, and a legal practitioner by the Supreme Court of Queensland. He is currently completing a masters degree in education by research.

Associate Professor Vili Nosa

PhD in Behavioural Science. He is the Head of Pacific Health, School of Population Health at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Vili's scholarly interests include Pacific health issues in the Pacific region & New Zealand, Pacific men’s health, alcohol, tobacco, drugs and substance abuse, and has published widely internationally on these topics. Vili is of Niuean descent.

Our Peer Researchers

A priority at MANA is to include the voices of young people in any research for them. We are proud to have a team of Peer Researchers working on staff who co-design our projects through conception, data collection, analysis and publishing of our findings through publications and presentations at conferences.

Research Projects

Maori and Pasifika Young Peoples Wellbeing Project

The aim of this project was to investigate the priorities for Pasifika young people living in Logan, Queensland, and how these impacted their health and wellbeing. This project incorporates a collaborative partnership between the University of Queensland’s School of Public Health with Pasifika community groups and members, including MANA Pasifika Inc., and the University of Auckland, School of Population Health.

Beyond the Reef: Arts and Wellbeing Project

This project is a collaboration between community arts professionals, public health professionals and academics, artists and community members, including young people, from the Maori and Pasifika communities in South East Queensland around mental health and social inclusion.

Contracted Artists: Mitieli Yaranamua (MY Voice Studios), Melodee Leilua (Te Vaka), Ruha Fifita (Gallery of Modern Art), and Daniel Waswas (Papua New Guinea Art Centre).
Peer Research Team: Tamika Taito, Eden Malama, Sarai Tafa
Academic Team: Dr Jo Durham, Dr Lisa Schubert, Dr Nicola Fa’avale, Catrina Ziesman
MANA Lead: Valami Qoro


Building partnerships to improve Māori and Pasifika health project

This collaborative research project brings together researchers and industry partners from different disciplinary backgrounds, as well as Māori and Pasifika perspectives.

The aims of this project are to:

  1. Collect essential pilot data to identify research priorities to address social determinants of health and to improve access to healthcare for Māori and Pasifika, with a focus on Logan City (a Queensland Health priority), in order to write a competitive NHMRC Partnership for Better Health application;
  2. Document how the process of migration influence health outcomes for Māori and Pasifika young people living in Logan city;
  3. Describe how context (e.g. the physical environment, access to social, economic and cultural capital) interact with processes of migration to influence health outcomes for Māori and Pasifika young people living in Logan city;
  4. Draft migrant urban health equity indicators that are meaningful for community, government and nongovernment stakeholders;
  5. Agree with industry partners and community-based organisations shared principles, governance, partnership arrangements and roles and responsibilities for the implementation of a NHMRC Partnership grant.

Research Publications

Just some of our researchers publications listed here:

Durham, J., Fa’avale, N., Fa’avale, A. et al. The impact and importance of place on health for young people of Pasifika descent in Queensland, Australia: a qualitative study towards developing meaningful health equity indicators. Int J Equity Health 18, 81 (2019).

Scott, J. Fa’avale, A., and Thompson, B.Y. (2018). What can Southern Criminology Contribute to a Post-Race Agenda? Asian Journal of Criminology13(2):155-173.

Zeisman, C., Durham, J., Fa’avale, N., Fa’avale, A., Malama, E., Tafa, S., Taito, T., Etuale, J., Yaranamua, M., Utai, U., and Schubert, L. (2018). Maori and Pasifika Young Peoples Well-being Project Report 2017. Brisbane: The University of Queensland.

Vaughan, L., Schubert, L., Mavoa, H., and Fa’avale, N. (2017). ‘Hey, We are the best ones at Dealing with our own’: Embedding a Culturally Competent Program for Māori and Pacific Island Children into a Mainstream Health Service in Queensland. Australia.

Mihrshahi, S., Vaughan, L., Fa’avale, N., De Silva Weliange, S., Manu-Sione, I., and Schubert, L. (2017). Evaluation of the Good Start Program: a healthy eating and physical activity intervention for Maori and Pacific Islander children living in Queensland, Australia. BMC Public Health 17:77

Kearney, J., Wood, L., & Teare, R. (2015). MANA Community Mentoring: Strengthening Identity and Positive Pathways for Pacific Youth: A Pathway from Australia,Chapter 12 in Designing Inclusive Pathways with Young Adults: Learning and Development for a Better World. Sense Publishers, Rotterdam.

Carroll, P., Asiasiga, L., Tav’ae, N., & Witten, K. (2013). Kids in the City: Differing Perceptions of One Neighbourhood in Aotearoa / New Zealand. In R. Coles & Z. Millman (Eds.), Landscape, Wellbeing and Environment (pp. 129-146). London: Routledge.

Witten, K., Kearns, R., Carroll, P., Asiasiga, L. & Tava’e, N. (2013) New Zealand parents’ understandings of the intergenerational decline in children’s independent outdoor play and active travel. Children’s Geographies, 11(2), 215-229.

Tava’e, N., & Nosa, V. (2012). The Green Prescription programme and the experiences of Pacific women in Auckland. J Prim Health Care 4(4):313-319