School of Psychology - Leading psychological science, scholarship and practice

Māori and Pacific Psychology Research Group

The Psychology Māori and Pacific Psychology Research Group (MPPRG) is an initiative to create an inclusive and dynamic space for Māori and Pasifika students in the School of Psychology to motivate, inspire and support each other through the research process.



Maori and Pacific at the faculty - events

Larissa Renfrew coordinates our Māori and Pacific Psychology Research Group, organising informal research progress meetings, discussion about Indigenous focused research, professional development activities, sharing information about relevant external-events, scholarships and opportunities, as well as hosting guest speakers from psychology and related disciplines.

The support and skill development attained from being a part of the group is crucial and highly valued by students. 

All members of the MPPRG group receive email notifications highlighting upcoming seminars, work and scholarship opportunities. There are also monthly face-to-face supervision meetings with students, and lecturers are at hand to assist students with their research projects.

MPPRG has two broad aims related to its kaupapa of motivating, inspiring and supporting Māori and Pasifika psychology student research:

1. Increasing the recruitment of Māori and Pasifika students into the school’s postgraduate programme, by exposing advanced undergraduate Māori students to Māori and Pacific centred research. Additionally, in some cases, actively engaging such students in Māori and Pacific centred research.

2. Supporting current Māori and Pacific postgraduate students as researchers (present or future), strengthening their knowledge and research skills, and broadening and strengthening their research connections, with the possibility for future collaborative research and further postgraduate study.

Expected benefits include:

  • Recruiting and retaining top Māori and Pasifika students into postgraduate study at this University.
  • Producing quality (published) research in Māori/Pacific psychology.
  • Building a community of skilled Māori and Pasifika researchers who are also attached to psychological research who will contribute to the University and the wider community.

Students of Māori and/or Pacific descent, or those completing research on Māori or Pacific issues, are welcome to attend.

The MPPRG coordinator is Larissa Renfrew ( Kaiwhakaako Mātai Hinengaro Hineatua Parkinson ( and Tuākana co-ordinators Lisiua Havili ( and Ariana Hond ( can provide support with personalised written references to professional programmes.

Dr Shiloh Groot, Dr Jade Le Grice, Dr Sam Manuela and Dr Sarah Kapeli provide academic research mentorship to this group and are happy to answer any enquiries from students:

Nau mai haere mai.


Programme components

The MPPRG programme includes informal research progress meetings with students and presentations by guest speakers from psychology and a variety of related disciplines. Both established scholars and newer, emerging scholars are represented. All speakers are of Māori and/or Pacific descent and have completed respective research on Māori or Pacifiic topics/issues at doctoral or masters level.

Since the inception of the group, the school has maintained a high number of postgraduate Māori and Pacific enrolments in a climate where Māori/Pacific enrolments in other places in the University programme have declined.

Possibly more important than numbers at indicating impact is the quality of the student experience. In a qualitative evaluation of the research group from 2009, students reported that the support provided by the group had enhanced their experience and contributed to their ongoing involvement in psychology. This increases the likelihood of further postgraduate study for those at honours/masters level.

The external speakers are particularly beneficial, not only to potentially generate research opportunities for postgraduate students (and staff), but in increasing the external visibility of the contribution the University makes to the Māori and Pacific communities.

For more information please contact:

MPPRG coordinator 
Larissa Renfrew


Māori and Pacific Psychology supervision clinics

The Māori and Pacific psychology supervision clinics are also open and available as a resource for students. These supervision sessions are one hour meetings, scheduled bimonthly, for students looking for guidance on how to integrate Kaupapa Māori and Pacific approaches into their research. We tend to set the agenda to focus on questions students bring from their research projects. We also have general conversations about ideas, practices, and concepts associated with Kaupapa Māori and Pacific research that people would like clarification on.

For more information please contact:

Māori and Pacific Psychology supervision clinic coordinator
Dr Jade Le Grice


Māori and Pacific Psychology - in the news

Five minutes with: a Kaupapa Māori researcher

In the fifth of a series of interviews with young and mid-career researchers, Eloise Gibson talks to Jade Le Grice about love, and how her frustration with academic portrayals of Māori led her to search for more nuanced stories.

When Jade Le Grice asks people what they got from their whānau that they want to pass on, the thread running through their answers is love.

Le Grice became a researcher and lecturer at Auckland University’s psychology school after getting frustrated with portrayals of Māori in academia, which focussed on what was missing from their lives and ignored the positive aspects.

She’s especially interested in how Māori people make decisions about sex and child-bearing - and she’s well aware that, even in 2018, many Pākehā have views on when and whether Māori should have kids, and how many.

Rather than viewing children as something to place far down a life goal checklist, many Māori she interviewed felt that having children was an act of love, defence of their culture and even resistance.

Now, Le Grice is interviewing Māori from her own hapū in the Hokianga, among others, to learn what proven techniques they can offer to help prevent sexual violence in the wake of #metoo.

Watch Jade's interview (14 June 2018)


Take 10 with... Sarah Kapeli

Sarah Kapeli, doctoral candidate and Pacific lecturer with the School of Psychology, gives us 10 minutes of her time to discuss her research into how Pacific knowledge and Pacific worldviews shape and are shaped by our Pacific peoples in areas relevant to psychology.

Read Sarah's Take 10


Dr Sam Manuela was interviewed by

Read Sam's full interview


Dr Shiloh Groot discusses homelessness in Aotearoa with The Policy Observatory. 

Listen to the full interview