- Our People
Pasifikology is a charitable trust governed by a Pacific executive team, all of whom are professionals in psychology.
Our executive team
Our team brings a wealth of experience, diversity of skills and knowledge, and has contributed to the profession of psychology and our Pacific communities in a significant way.
PGDClinPsy, MA, BA (Hons), Registered Clinical PsychologistI am a registered clinical psychologist of Tongan descent and the CE of Le Va. In my 20 years as a psychologist, I have served the community working for the Department of Justice and District Health Boards’ community mental health services, working directly with at-risk individuals and supervising staff. I have led the design and development of two national suicide prevention programmes funded by the Ministry of Health- FLO: Pasifika for Life and LifeKeepers. I have published widely and I am a member of the Suicide Mortality Review Committee for the Health Quality and Safety Commission, and the Psychology Advisory Group for the Ministry of Health. I currently chair Pasifikology, which is a national network of Pasifika psychologists in NZ.
Dr Elizabeth Mati
DClinPsy, BA/BCom, Registered Clinical PsychologistI am passionate about developing effective Pasifika interventions and solutions which lead to Pasifika people unleashing their full potential. I am a registered clinical psychologist and have been working within Pasifika communities for over 15 years in educational, forensic and mental health settings. My father hails from the village of Sa’anapu in Upolu, Samoa, while my mother is of English descent. Family and relationships are two of my central values, which attracted me to the Le Va way of doing things. I currently live in South Auckland with my partner, Tino, our two daughters, Isabelle and Hope, and our son, Lua’itaua. In my previous roles as a DHB Manager and clinical psychologist for Pasifika mental health services, I supported the development and provision of culturally appropriate assessment and interventions for Pasifika young people, who often had sexual and violent trauma histories, and their families. I also had a focus on quality improvement and integrating services for child and adolescent mental health. My background in research explored factors leading to positive behaviour change in South Auckland young people who had offended, and I completed my internship at Corrections working with female and male high-risk violent offenders in prison and community settings.
Dr Mele Taumoepeau
BA, BSc (Hons), PhD Developmental Psychology
Dr Sam Manuela
Lecturer, PhD in PsychologyDr Sam Manuela is Cook Island and European. He currently works as a Senior Lecturer in Te Kura Mātai Hinengaro - School of Psychology at Waipapa Taumata Rau - The University of Auckland. Sam has a range of research interests including: the relationships between Pacific ethnic identities and wellbeing; Pacific multiethnic identities; Pacific knowledge, values, and epistemologies in psychology; Pacific Rainbow health and wellbeing; Pacific mental health in Aotearoa; Cook Islands mental health.
BSc, MHealthPsych (Hons), PGDipHealthPsychMy name is Jessee Fia’Ali’i. I identify as a New Zealand-born Sāmoan being born and raised in Māngere. My parents come from the villages of Fōgāsavai’i and ‘Āfega in Samoa. I am a Senior Health Psychologist at Te Whatu Ora Counties Manukau working within the Department of Anaesthetic and Pain Medicine, helping people to understand and manage complex, and chronic pain. I have been in this role for the last five years and have also worked concurrently as a contracting psychologist to GP practices in Māngere and Ōtara providing psychological support, served as a general board member of Rainbow Youth for two terms, and contribute to research and teaching at the University of Auckland. My interests include Pasifika understandings of health and wellbeing in the context of healthcare settings and validity/workability of therapeutic models.
MSc (Hons), PGDipHealthPsychTalofa lava. I am a second-generation New Zealand-born Samoan-Italian. I am married and share three beautiful children with my wife Masha. I completed all of my studies at the University of Auckland, including a post-graduate diploma in health psychology. Since registering in 2014, I have worked in the primary mental health and addictions sector supporting people in GP practices, and more recently at Middlemore hospital in the Whitiora diabetes service. I currently work as a Clinical Lead for the Mental Health and Addictions team at Le Va, where much of my work is in workforce development, supporting Pacific Access and Choice services across Aotearoa. Our MHA sector needs more Pacific psychologists to meet the demands of our fast growing and diverse population. While the road to become a psychologist is long, to work in such spaces is a real privilege. I encourage anyone who has started this journey to stick at it, even if it means taking a break between study years as many people including myself have done. Outside of the aforementioned specialities in psychology, I have a special interest in sport and performance psychology and have supported many athletes with their ambitions and goals related to performance and rehabilitation in private practice.
BA, BA(Hons), MA(Hons), PGCertEdPsych, PGDipEdPsychI am Tongan / Niuean and I hail from the villages of Tongoleleka- Ha’apai, Koulo- Ha’apai, Holonga- Vava’u, Halafo’ou- Tongatapu and Alofi North- Niue. I am the first Tongan / Niuean Educational Psychologist in New Zealand. With five years of experience as an Educational Psychologist for the Ministry of Education, I now work as a Project Manager at Le Va and I focus on the wellbeing and youth development of Pacific young people. I have a passion for working with young people and upskilling professionals, parents, and educators on how to better support and engage with Pacific young people. This area of Psychology needs more Pacific diversity. I continue to advocate for Educational Psychology and encourage any Pacific person who has hopes and dreams to work in this field. “Be the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete”- A quote about resilience, I am a strong believer that we are capable to successfully adapt to difficult or challenging life experiences that overall strengthens our mental, emotional, physical, behavioural and even cultural wellbeing.
BA, MA, PGDipPsychPrac, Registered Psychologist and Social WorkerAilaoa Aoina is of Samoan descent (Satapuala, Toamua, Malie, Safune, Levi- Saleima, Faleasi’u), born and raised in East Auckland. Married to Paul So’oula from Asau, Malaemau- Falealili, they have 3 adult children and 5 grandchildren. They raised their family in Rotorua for 17 years and currently live in Pukekohe, South Auckland. Ailaoa has worked with children, young people and their families for the 32 years in the social work field for the former Department of Child, Youth & Family and then Oranga Tamariki covering a variety of roles including social worker, supervisor, evidential interviewer, practice consultant, site manager and co-managed the After Hours Emergency Service on the night shift at the National Contact Centre for 13 years. Ailaoa became a Registered Psychologist in 2012 and worked at Takanga A Fohe - Isa Lei, Pasifika Adult Community Mental Health for 5 years. Since 2017 she has worked privately providing psychological services for Primary Health Organisations and external supervision to Pasifika practitioners working in Social Services or Psychology. In 2021, Ailaoa became the Clinical Team Coordinator for Hala Ora, the Mental Health and Addictions service, within Fonua Ola Social Services based in Manukau.