Driven to cre­ate a bet­ter life for all Pa­cific peo­ple

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By ELESHA ED­MONDS

TA­GA­LOATELE Peggy Fair­bairnDun­lop is one of the Pa­cific’s lead­ing re­searchers on sub­jects rang­ing from youth and gen­der to sus­tain­able devel­op­ment.

The pro­fes­sor of Pa­cific Stud­ies at AUT was for­mally recog­nised for her decades of work in this year’s Queen’s Birth­day honours.

Fair­bairn-Dun­lop was made a Com­pan­ion of the New Zealand or­der of Merit for her ser­vices to ed­u­ca­tion and the Pa­cific com­mu­nity.

It’s her sec­ond award af­ter she was made an Of­fi­cer of the New Zealand Or­der of Merit in 2008 for ser­vices to re­search on fam­i­lies.

The mother-of-five says she was sur­prised and hum­bled to have been recog­nised again.

‘‘It was good to get be­cause it was recog­ni­tion of Pa­cific con­tri­bu­tion to the mak­ing of New Zealand so­ci­ety or com­mu­nity,’’ she says.

Fair­bairn-Dun­lop lives in San­dring­ham and has spent decades re­search­ing, teach­ing and ad­vo­cat­ing for Pasi­fika is­sues.

‘‘What mo­ti­vates me al­ways is the Pa­cific peo­ple and a drive for a bet­ter qual­ity of life for Pa­cific peo­ple whether in New Zealand or in the home­lands,’’ she says.

This is linked to bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion and ed­u­ca­tional poli­cies, she says.

Fair­bairn-Dun­lop be­came New Zealand’s first pro­fes­sor of Pa­cific stud­ies in 2009 and is the first per­son to hold a Pa­cific chair at a New Zealand Uni­ver­sity.

She is based at AUT’s Manukau cam­pus and says her aim is to The re­search our Pa­cific stu­dents are do­ing is quite ex­cel­lent and mak­ing a real con­tri­bu­tion in­crease the num­ber post­grad­u­ate stu­dents.

‘‘I’m very proud of all my mas­ter and PhD re­search stu­dents which are com­ing through,’’ she says.

‘‘The re­search that our Pa­cific stu­dents are do­ing is quite ex­cel­lent and mak­ing a real con­tri­bu­tion to com­mu­nity and fam­ily devel­op­ment in New Zealand.’’

Fair­bairn-Dun­lop was elected na­tional pres­i­dent of PACI­FICA in 2013. It is an or­gan­i­sa­tion that helps Pa­cific Is­land women to par­tic­i­pate in public life with more than 20 branches around the coun­try.

Fair­bairn-Dun­lop, who fin­ished her pres­i­den­tial term last month, has helped in­crease Pa­cific in­volve­ment in early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion and es­tab­lished a branch of the or­gan­i­sa­tion at AUT’s Manukau Cam­pus.

Be­fore she re­tires she wants to in­vest in the fu­ture of Pa­cific re­search.

‘‘My main aim is to sup­port the next gen­er­a­tion and bring­ing through the next tier or layer of Pa­cific schol­ars.’’

of Pasi­fika

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