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Litea Meo-Sewabu

Doctor of Philosophy, (Social Policy)
Study Completed: 2015
College of Health


Thesis Title
'Tu ga na inima ka luvu na waqa' The cultural constructs of health and wellbeing amongst Marama iTaukei in a Fijian village in Lau and in transnational Fijian community in Whanganui, Aotearoa

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Ms Meo-Sewabu explored the lay understanding of health and wellbeing amongst Indigenous Fijian women.  "Tu ga na inima ka luvu na waqa" literally means that the bail was in the boat yet the boat sinks.  Findings provided a ''bail'' or a cultural lens illustrated in the Tanoa Health Belief Framework developed from research to assist health and community workers to support women.  An Indigenous research methodology called ''Tali Magimagi'' was developed and includes the concept of ''cultural discernment'', the ethical requirements within a cultural setting.  She developed a social policy framework that incorporates ''culturally embedded agency'' of Fijian women. To date research and development practice have focused on western paradigms and bio-medical models of undersatnidng health and wellbeing often ignoring cultural understandings.  Her findings contribute to the beginning of a new approach to health and wellbeing not only for the ''Marama iTaukei'' but also for Pacific and Indigenous women globally.

Professor Robyn Munford
Dr Api Talemaitoga
Dr Apolonia Tamata
Dr Suzanne Phibbs

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