While completing her Master in International Communication at Unitec, Tongan-Kiwi media professional Sandra Kailahi broke new ground.

Her research culminated in a documentary, Tongan Women Talking About Their Lives, which explores the experiences of Tongan women migrants in leadership positions; what leadership means to these women, and how gender and culture affect their leadership roles. Kailahi, a respected journalist and figure in the Pasifika community, graduated in April.

Dr Philip Cass, a senior lecturer in communication studies at Unitec, wrote a thesis review that was recently released through ePress. Cass explains in his review how Kailahi combined a participatory visual methodology with talanoa, the traditional indigenous Tongan research methodology involving face-to-face conversation.

Dr Philip Cass

Dr Philip Cass’s ePress-published review of Sandra Kailahi’s thesis.

“As a co-participant she was able to use an autoethnographical approach that employed semi-structured interviews, a semi-structured focus group and reflexive diaries. She describes the two methodologies as complementary, arguing that they allow the participants and the researcher to engage in social conversation, consultation, participation and reflexivity throughout the research process,” he writes.

“In combining talanoa with video documentary-making, she is breaking new ground in this area, and her detailed descriptions of the research process – the technical aspects and the diffculties that arose during the process – that she records in her exegesis will be extremely instructive for researchers who want to follow in her footsteps.”

Read Thesis Review: Tongan Women Talking About Their Lives (review includes a link to Sandra Kailahi’s documentary).

Read Sandra Kailahi’s thesis.


Other recent ePress releases

ePress is also delighted to share this spring dose of shiny new Unitec research.

ePress Thesis Review

Evaluating the impact of social change catalyst on urban community development, by Irene Ayallo, which reviews A case study of LIN Centre for Community Development in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Chau Doan-Bao.

Whanake, Volume 4, Issue 1, 2018

Whanake: The Pacific Journal of Community Development is a bi-annual digital journal, edited by Gavin Rennie and John Stansfield, for practitioners and academics who love community development.

This issue features articles on epistemology and community worker education, intergenerational communication and Tongan youth, Samoan poetry praxis, and community development in Uganda. It also includes the new ‘Towards Shared International Standards for Community Development Practice’.

Building Better Homes Towns and Cities National Science Challenge think-pieces

These papers are extended versions of the think-pieces commissioned from Unitec researchers by the Building Research Association of New Zealand.