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The $7 cabbage dilemma: Pacific peoples & New Zealand's COVID-19 response

Discover current aspirations, concerns and solutions for Pacific peoples

With an $8 billion annual contribution to the economy and 27,000 hours of unpaid weekly labour, Pacific peoples contribute immensely to Aotearoa New Zealand. However, despite this contribution Pacific peoples still experience inequity even through Aotearoa New Zealand’s COVID-19 response. Therefore it is more urgent than ever that we consider Pacific peoples’ aspirations and challenges for the future.

  • Understand what Pacific peoples are currently concerned about recovering from COVID-19
  • Uncover a new emerging concern for Pacific peoples
  • Discover Pacific community driven solutions

"Even the veggie shops are still quite expensive… …You know, affording these kind of things like daily vegetables of fruit, you know, it's really expensive buying a cabbage at $7 aye, it's pretty expensive …and even pumpkins is pretty, pretty expensive too… … potatoes, potatoes, you know, they used to be on like growing up, you know, like we still always have, you know, like meat and mash potatoes or something, you know, like for dinner, but now it's just like, you can't even afford the potatoes."

About the Authors:

Gerald Naepi

Partnered with his extensive background in health Gerald has used his Pacific values to guide his career into the service of helping Pacific communities become happy and healthy. Gerald is a qualified Physiotherapist who also holds a BSc and PGDipSci from the University of Auckland.

Coming from a family of health professionals and entrepreneurs Gerald has always sought ways on how to best serve Pacific people for better health, education and socioeconomic outcomes. Gerald has been involved with intenational research projects where community voice was centered and drove the research project. Gerald’s careful relationships management and ability to communicate between key stakeholders has meant that community research projects are successful and meet key outcomes for both community and research funders.

Matada Research Group Ltd was born from the need for Pacific Research to be led by Pacific Institutions with the goal of better outcomes for future Pacific generations. Matada Research Group Ltd. aims to create brighter futures for Pacific individuals, families and communities through research driven practice.

Dr Sereana Naepi
Research Consultant

Dr. Sereana Naepi graduated with her BA, and Honours from the University of Auckland (UoA), and in 2018 completed her PhD in Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada. Dr. Naepi is a highly qualified and experienced researcher with both national and international research experience. She has been involved in indigenous projects that have helped see a change in education and well being.

Dr. Naepi has worked with the British Columbia (BC) Ministry of Education on province-wide equity approach to learning in schools that sought to increase indigenous student achievement (BC Equity Scheme). Dr Sereana Naepi is experienced in Pacific research methodologies and has both quantitative and qualitative research expertise.

Through her work Dr. Naepi has been involved in advocating for change in Universities for Māori and Pacific academics to see more involvement in higher education positions, Lecturers, Professors, Pro Vice Chancellors etc. Dr Naepi has also led Indigenous research development projects overseas such as Knowledge Makers and All My Relations.

Dr. Naepi has been featured in a variety of news outlets including TV Ones Breakfast, Radio New Zealand and e- Tangata, bringing the spotlight on the issues of inequity in the tertiary sector.

Kate Jack
Research Assistant

Kate (they/she) is a masters student in sociology at the University of Auckland currently researching the impact of the neoliberalisation of New Zealand’s universities on Aotearoa’s marginalised communities. They graduated with a BA in Sociology and Development Studies from Victoria University of Wellington in 2020 and received the Jim Robb Memorial Prize in Sociology, and their BA (Hons, First Class) in 2021 from the University of Auckland.

Kate’s research expertise is primarily in queer theory and higher education, particularly as each applies to critiques of neoliberalism. They have experience with both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and enjoy using innovative, queer re-workings of existing qualitative research methodologies to centre community experiences in their research.

The way things are at the moment...I just worry about how far it will be in the future. If it’s still going to be like that. Even the, the average worker is like the working poor now.”

Matada Research Group (MRG) Ltd. is a social enterprise specialising in transformative research, consultation and program development to positively impact legislation, policy and practices to help improve Pacific peoples health and well being. Matada Research seeks to create solutions that enhance the wellbeing of individuals, communities and society

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Discover more on Pacific peoples & Aotearoa New Zealand's COVID-19 response

This white paper offers an opportunity to hear from Pacific peoples to build an understanding of what matters to them.