Postgraduate Study

A key focus of the Pacific Islands Families (PIF) Study is to provide opportunities for students, particularly Pasifika, to develop their research skills and knowledge. Utilising the rich longitudinal data available not only provides vital information about the health and wellbeing of our Pacific families, but also enables students to gain further postgraduate qualifications. Building this Pacific health research capacity is essential for the PIF Study and provides an important contribution to support Pacific academic achievement.

Past Graduates

Summer Studentships:

Gareth Fraser
Topic: Health Service Utilisation amongst Pacific men: Findings from the Pacific Islands Families (PIF) Study

Stevie Davis-Tana
Topic: A review of 8 waves of PIFS Data (2000-2014): Do Changes to the family as reported in PIFS Data match National Statistics?

Falegau Melanie Silulu
Topic: Is there a need for a Pacific-specific low birth weight threshold?

James Heimuli
Topic: Pacific parent's perceptions of overweight and obesity amongst their children

Athena Tapu
Topic: Pasifika Smoking Cessation Services: Will we meet a "smoke-free NZ" in 2025?

BHSc (Honours) - Psychology:

Hilda Port
Topic: Kava: A longitudinal study into kava consumption and the emerging patterns of kava usage with subsequent effects on Pasifika families living in South Auckland

Master's degree:

Losi Sa'ulilo
Topic: Health literacy among Pacific mothers; Understanding health and nutrition related knowledge in Pacific mothers residing in New Zealand.

Hilda Port
Topic: Kava Survey Questionnaire: An exploratory study into the practices surrounding kava usage and identification of problematic behaviours as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition (DSM 5)

Stephanie Erick
Thesis: Factors associated with smoking amongst a cohort of mothers of Pacific infants in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Falegau Melanie Silulu
Thesis: The need for a Pacific-specific low birth weight threshold: a comparison between Samoan babies born in Samoa with Samoan babies born in Aotearoa New Zealand.

James Heimuli
Thesis: Pacific Island Families Study: Parental perceptions of overweight obesity and future concern for child's weight status.

Heather Robertson
Thesis: A study of maternal reports of childhood injuries that result in hospital attendance or admission: do they match National Health Index database records?


Melody Oliver
Thesis: Physical activity in New Zealand pre-schoolers: amount, associations, and accounts.

El-Shadan (Dan) Tautolo
Thesis: Pacific fathers cultivating the future: The health of Pacific fathers and their influence upon and involvement with their children.

Shamshad Karatela
Thesis: Health of Pacific children in New Zealand: association between selected elements, behaviour and body-size

Fa'asisila Savila
Topic: Home environments, food patterns and growth among Pacific children in Auckland link to

Shabnam Jalili-Moghaddam
Topic: What children are eating and the risk of future diabetes

Postdoctoral Fellow

El-Shadan (Dan) Tautolo
Topic: Development and validation of a method to assess Pacific fathering behaviour & involvement

Current students

Master's degree:

Adrienne Poulter
Topic: Child behaviour problems amongst Pacific children in NZ.


Sarai Tufala
Topic: Pacific perceptions of under-utilisation, late presentation, and longer hospital stay in New Zealand mental health services: The Tuvaluan people's perceptions and experiences of mental health services in New Zealand.

Postgraduate opportunities

Opportunities exist for postgraduate study in the following programmes:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Master of Health Science (MHSc)
  • Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science (PgDipHSc)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health (PgDipPH)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Health Science (PGCertHSc)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health (PGCerPH)

View the application process for postgraduate study

Scholarship opportunities are also available for students in these programmes.

For further information contact

Dr El-Shadan (Dan) Tautolo
+64 9 9 921 9999 ext 7527