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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 Pacific students in the School of Psychology to motivate, inspire and support each other through the research process.

This group engages in 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. Tuākana co-ordinators Atua Parkinson and Sonia Pope can provide support with personalised written references to professional programmes. Dr Shiloh Groot, Dr Jade Le Grice, and Sam Manuela provide academic research mentorship to this group.

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

1. Increasing the recruitment of Māori and Pacific students into the school’s postgraduate programme, by exposing advanced undergraduate Māori students to Māori and Pacific centred research and an active research culture, and, in some cases, 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 Pacific students into postgraduate study at this University.
  • Producing quality (published) research in Māori/Pacific psychology.
  • Building a community of skilled Māori and Pacific 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. 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 – currently 30 Māori and Pacific students with four PhD (all Māori), 15 DClinPsy (nine Māori, six Pacific), and 11 masters/honours /PGDip (six Māori, five Pacific) – 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) and were also important in increasing the external visibility of the contribution the University makes to the Māori and Pacific communities.

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:

MPPRG coordinator 
Sonia Pope