AUT Pacific Islands Families study: Findings to be translated into international context

Researchers at Auckland University of Technology’s South Campus in Manukau will join forces with four other leading research groups in the field of child development studies, thanks to Government funding of $429,017 from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Catalyst Fund.


Dr El-Shadan Tautolo, credit

The research group comprises of:

  • Massey University’s Te Hoe Nuku Roa - Māori Families Longitudinal Study (research leader);
  • AUT’s Pacific Islands Families Study, and;
  • a triad of Growing Up studies – GuINZ University of Auckland, ScotCen Social Research and the Economic & Social Research Institute (ESRI),Scotland and Trinity College, Dublin. 

The collaboration with other world-class international research groups and initiatives, will enable AUT’s Pacific Islands Families Study to be translated into an international context to help determine how and why child development environments change and which environments are supportive and which are not.

Director of the Pacific Islands Families Study, and one of the Primary Investigators of this research, Dr El-Shadan Tautolo, says this $429,017 grant and the resulting collaboration, will uncover insights that will be of great interest to organisations and individuals involved with child development in New Zealand.

“Ireland and Scotland’s jurisdiction settings are similar to that in New Zealand, especially in terms of government, health, education, multi-language settings, and the various inequalities faced,” explains Dr Tautolo.

“The Growing up Studies in Ireland and Scotland are crucial to planning and policy setting in these nations, and closely working with them to investigate what has worked and what hasn’t worked, will enable us to translate their international findings into a New Zealand context, and vice versa.”

“The Pacific Islands Families Study is a landmark study in its own right, and we are looking forward to being able to compare our findings and learnings to those in similar studies internationally.”

On announcing this year’s round of Catalyst funding, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce, drew attention to the importance of collaboration when it comes to research.

“Collaborating with the world’s best research teams allows us to increase the excellence and impact of our science, ensuring we remain at the forefront of new knowledge,” says Joyce.

About the Pacific Islands Families Study


The Pacific Islands Families Study, the only longitudinal study of its kind, follows a cohort of 1398 Pacific children, born at Middlemore Hospital in 2000, within their family environment.

15 years on, extensive consultation within Pacific communities has contributed to the development of this multidisciplinary project and the inclusion of psychosocial and health concepts that are relevant to these communities. It is anticipated that this prospective, longitudinal study will generate important practical information on Pacific child and family health and psychosocial functioning over critical developmental stages.

About the Catalyst Fund


The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Catalyst Fund, aims to link New Zealand with other world-class international research groups and initiatives. This Catalyst Fund investment in global strategic partnerships has been made through the Catalyst Strategic funding stream.