Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 312 - Health and Pacific People in NZ

15 Points

Semester 1



An overview of the major health issues facing Pacific peoples, including analysis of the key determinants of health status, focusing on approaches to improving health for Pacific peoples through research, policy, public health programmes and health services. A critique of dominant paradigms of health and wellbeing in relation to Pacific communities in Aotearoa New Zealand is included with consideration of their effect on health outcomes.


Prerequisite: POPLHLTH 210
Restriction: POPLHLTH 201


There is no doubt that the health of Pacific Peoples living in the region and in New Zealand is a major concern. This course aims to provide an insight into the major health challenges facing them both locally and in the region. This includes critical analysis of the key determinants of their health and wellbeing. In view of the situation this course would highlight and discuss evidence-base approaches to improve Pacific health outcomes through research, health policy, health management, public health programmes, health promotion, and other health care services improvement.

Key course objectives

At the end of the course, students will be expected to:

  • Discuss migration and understand the underlying issues of what is it to be living as Pacific people in New Zealand e.g., poverty, equity and others
  • Discuss Pacific culture as it relates to their health and wellbeing
  • Examine the determinants of the health of Pacific people in New Zealand
  • Understand Pacific people’s perceptions of health and wellbeing
  • Discuss the health status of Pacific youth, adults and elderlies
  • Examine the major Pacific health issues in New Zealand, especially non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases, and mental health issues
  • Discuss Pacific health responses and possible solutions to Pacific health issues
  • Discuss methods of doing Pacific health research and evaluation

The student will also be expected to have acquired skills in:

  • Identifying the determinants and the major pacific health issues in New Zealand e.g., non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases, and mental health issues
  • Examining the health of Pacific children, youth and elderlies
  • Conducting simple Pacific health research and evaluation

At the conclusion of the course the student should have an appreciation of:

  • Pacific health and its impact on the overall New Zealand population.
  • The values which underlie current and past public health practice in Pacific health
  • The importance of Pacific cultures, values and cultural protocols
  • The need to improve the health of Pacific peoples 

Course structure

There are two one hour lectures and one hour tutorial each week

Lecture Schedule


Session Title


Block 1:  Demographic Features, Migration, Culture and Health


Introduction: Pacific cultures, values and health


Pacific peoples migration, socioeconomic changes and impacts.


Determinants of the health of Pacific people in New Zealand  


Block 2: Pacific Perceptions of Health and Wellbeing and the Health Status of Youth, Adults and Elderlies


Pacific perceptions of health and well-being


Maternal and child health


Health of Pacific elderly: Priority areas of concern


Pacific Youth /Adolescent health: A health concern in NZ


Nutrition and Pacific people


Alcohol, Tobacco & Drugs




1st Assignment due anytime between 6-17 April 2015


Mid Semester Break:  Monday 6-Saturday 18 April


Infectious Diseases and risk factors among Pacific people in NZ


Non communicable Diseases and risk factors among Pacific People in NZ


Public Holiday


Traditional healing and health among Pacific people of New Zealand


Block 3: Pacific Health Solutions and Interventions


Multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approaches – A strategy for Pacific health determinants


Primary Health Care Strategies and the Pacific Collective PHO (AH+)


Public Policy as a health promotion tool to improve Pacific people’s health 


Health Promotion: A strategy for Pacific health issues. 


Religion and health: Partnership and action


Healthcare – access, barriers, quality of care.


Translating research to policy and practice - TAHA  PROJECT


Evaluation and Pacific Health Research


Public Holiday


Rounding up of the course and discussion of the final exam


2nd Assignment due 25 May 2015

Course Assessment

Two assignments: 25% each

Final examination: 50% 

Readings or recommended textbooks

A list of recommended readings is given for each session. Students will be expected to have read these prior to the sessions, and to be prepared to discuss the issues and questions arising from them.

Reference material

There are no prescribed publications for this course. However the following publications are highly recommended:

  • Ministry of Health. (2008) search in www.moh.govt.nz under Pacific publications.
  • Novak, B. (2007). Ethnic-Specific health needs assessment for Pacific People in Counties Manukau region, Counties Manukau DHB search in www.sah.co.nz under publications health status outcomes.
  •  Ministry of Health. (2008) search in www.moh.govt.nz under Pacific publications.
  •  Ministry of Health. (2004) Tupu Ola Moui – Pacific Health Chart Book. Search in  www.moh.govt.nzunder Pacific publications.
  •  Ministry  of  Health.  (2003)  Pacific  Health  in  New  Zealand  our  stories  search  in  www.moh.govt.nz under Pacific publications.
  •  Research review www.researchreview.co.nz under Pacific publications. You will need to log in with your email and a password (it’s free).
  •  New Zealand Health Research Council www.hrc.govt.nz search under Pacific.
  •  Statistics New Zealand 2006 www.stats.nz search under Pacific. 

We also have a number of Pacific Health topics in our Pacific Health Dialogue. If you require readings from the Pacific Health Dialog then see our Pacific administrator at the Pacific Health Section, School of Population Health.

Course Director