Samoan academic creating 'safe cultural research space' for 'burdened' Pacific Rainbow+ communities

A Samoan academic says his research is aimed at lifting the heads of the Rainbow community who he says are consistently burdened by everything around them.

The Manalagi project is New Zealand's first-ever Pacific Rainbow+ Health and Wellbeing project and creates a safe cultural research space for Pacific Rainbow+ communities to communicate their unique health and wellbeing needs.

Manalagi principal investigator, Seuta‘afili Dr Patrick Saulmatino Thomsen, says the research allows the Rainbow community to be ok with who they are.

“Manalagi is about allowing ourselves to look to the heavens.

“As Pacific Rainbow peoples we often have our heads down, you know burdened by everything around us but that’s the shift we’re trying to sort of encourage, is to understand that it’s ok for us to be who we are.”

The three-year project is documenting health information for those who self-identify as part of the Pacific Rainbow community. The aim is to co-design a more effective and culturally appropriate framework for the community’s health and wellbeing needs after listening widely to people's experiences with the current health system.​​

The research is being done in three phases, and includes a survey, which will close in August. 

In the third phase, the research team will collect and share narratives of our community members through talanoa. The purpose of Phase Three is to supplement the quantitative data with the nuance of qualitative knowledge.​


Photo file RNZ Caption: Seuta‘afili Dr Patrick Saulmatino Thomsen