PhD student biographies

Marata Tamaira, PhD Candidate

Marata Tamaira hails from Aotearoa/New Zealand and has genealogical ties with the central North Island tribe of Ngati Tuwharetoa. She received her MA in Pacific Islands studies at the University of Hawai'i in 2009. In her thesis, she explored the construction of New Zealand national/bicultural identity through the deployment of Maori cultural symbols. Her research interests include issues of representation in the Pacific, specifically through the visual arts and filmmaking, and the use of indigenous material culture and symbols to construct national identity, particularly in settler countries in the region. She edited the UHM Center for Pacific Islands Studies graduate-student publication The Space Between: Negotiating Culture, Place, and Identity in the Pacific and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Asia and Pacific studies at the Australian National University. In her work, she will be exploring contesting art practices by contemporary Kanaka Maoli (aboriginal Hawaiian) artists in Hawai'i.

Latu Latai, PhD Candidate

Reverend Latu Latai is a doctoral student in Pacific Studies in the School of Culture History and Language, College of Asia and Pacific. Latu has a Masters of Theology (2005) from the Pacific Theological College in Suva.

Latu's doctoral research is a history of Samoan London Missionary Society wives in the evangelisation of the Western Pacific from 1839 to 1975, looking specifically at Papua New Guinea. By the turn of the twentieth century, Samoans were the most dominant missionary force in the Western Pacific. Their activities and influence have been documented, often praised and heavily criticised. However, although efforts of Samoan male missionaries have been documented, very little is mentioned of their wives. Yet they were there! They were even trained and expected to perform in the mission field. My research thus aims to recuperate the presence and the experiences of these missionary wives which constitute a valuable human record, challenging the perception that they were mere attachments or extensions of men-marginal anecdotes of evangelisation. Latu will explore questions about the formative experience of these women in light of Christianity, colonialism, western gender and race ideologies and the extent of the 'domestication' thesis. He will also consider the agency of these women in contesting foreign models, and their impact on the societies and cultures they came in contact with. In particular, he will utilise indigenous Samoan concepts of personhood to suggest novel reasons for and generate fresh conclusions about the evangelisation of the Pacific from Samoan missionary wives' perspectives.

Areti Metuamate, PhD Candidate

Areti is the President of the Postgraduate and Research Students Association (PARSA) and Deputy Head of Residence at Toad Hall. He is studying towards a PhD in Pacific Studies having previously been a Freyberg Scholar from New Zealand which saw him graduate with a Master of Strategic Studies. He also holds a first class honours degree in politics from Victoria University of Wellington. At ANU, Areti has been a member of the University Council, the Sport and Recreation Association Council, the Board of Governors of the Endowment for Excellence and the Board of Fellows of University House. He was the inaugural chair of the New Zealand Maori Youth Council and an active member of the Institute of International Affairs, the Runanga Katorika, the Asia: New Zealand Young Leaders Network, the Council of the Catholic Institute, and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND). He was formerly Vice President of the Ship for World Youth Association and an active member of the United Nations Association.

The working title of Areti's research is "George Tupou V: the Tongan, the Christian, the Monarch. An examination of the life of a king in relation to his people". Areti's research will focus on a historically and theoretically situated biography of King George Tupou V, the recently deceased leader of Tonga.

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