1. Home
  2. /
  3. Engaging Pasifika
  4. /
  5. Pasifikology latest symposium

Pasifikology latest symposium

Pasifikology – the heart that networks, supports, promotes and grows psychology for Pasifika, in every way, shape and form.

Pasifikology is a network of Pasifika psychologists, graduates and students of psychology who promote, inform, educate and mentor the practice of psychology for Pasifika.  This includes growing the Pacific psychologist workforce, sharing knowledge and information and ensuring that psychology is relevant for Pacific people. 
In 2005 a small group of Pasifika psychologists began to meet to discuss and share ideas through informal meetings and a few years later Pasifikology was established and is having a significant impact on increasing the number of Pasifika psychologists, introducing new perspectives, and forming the foundations of Pasifika psychology in Aotearoa New Zealand.

On 16th September, Pasifikology held its latest symposium in Auckland which was hosted at Le Va with whom Pasifikology has a close relationship (MOU).  The intentions of the symposium were to provide an intimate setting where Pasifikology members could talanoa.

It was a day where the next generation of Pasifika psychology students were able to share their research. The fono also provided a space to explore and discuss how we would nourish and grow the future of Pasifikology. 

The 30 Pasifika attendees consisted of postgraduate psychology students from organisational, social and educational divisions, registered practising psychologists from clinical, counselling and health scopes, and psychology academics. 

The symposium commenced with presentations from three post-graduate psychology students from the University of Auckland. Sonia Pope, an educational psychology masters student, shared her honours dissertation where she investigated the relationship between cultural identity and suicidal behaviours amongst Tongan young people. Her findings indicated a significant negative correlation between perceived familial wellbeing and suicidal behaviours further emphasising the importance the role of family can play in suicide prevention. 

Seraphine Williams, an organisational psychology honours student conducted semi-structured interviews exploring the experiences of transwomen in the workplace. Amongst many other things, Seraphine articulated the often subtle prejudices and forms of discrimination that continue to exist for transwoman. For the audience, it was a good reminder that we must remain mindful that such practices continue to exist for transwomen and other minority groups. 

Our third student presenter, Jesse Fiaali’i, presented O le Toe ‘Ulutaia: A Bibliography of Pasifika and Psychology Research. A first of its kind for Pasifika psychology, Jesse categorised the bibliography utilising the fonofale model. The bibliography will be officially launched in the next few months. 

We were also privileged to hear two Pasifikology members Dr Monique Faleafa and Dr Evangelene Daniela-Wong.  Evangelene shared Mana Moana and its use with clients.

There is a wealth of knowledge from our Pasifika ancestors that we can utilise within our clinical work with Pasifika people and Mana Moana brings this cultural wisdom together.

Mana Moana complements many of the principles of psychological interventions and can be interweaved into our practise to provide a more respectful language that may be more accepting by Pasifika people. 

Dr Monique Faleafa, who is also deputy Chair of the New Zealand Psychology board, described important information that all registered psychologists and aspiring psychologists need to be aware of in terms of regulation and ethics. She also shared Le Va’s Aunty Dee App – a web-based structured problem solving tool designed for Pasifika and Maori young people.

The App is an innovation in healthcare delivery and makes an evidence based treatment accessible for many who would not normally seek help from traditional providers.

Evaluations indicate the symposium was a huge success. New connections were made and others were strengthened. Knowledge was shared and explored. The possibilities for the future of Pasifika psychology were embraced, passions were reignited and people were called to action. Pasifikology looks forward to continuing the momentum and creating more space and opportunity for Pasifika psychology to grow. 

If you are interested in the journey, please sign up on our website www.pasifikology.co.nz to receive newsletters and like our Pasifikology facebook page. Our next newsletter will be sent out mid-October. 

Fa’afetai tele,

Dr Elizabeth Mati
Clinical Psychologist

About the author •
From time to time general news is published within Le Va

Covid-19 Update

Face-to-face workshops will not continue while New Zealand is at Level 4. We will be in contact with all participants soon.