Published: April 29, 2019

Download: Life Course Centre Working Paper: 2019-08


Ruth Lute Faleolo

Non-Technical Summary:

My PhD study focuses on the well-being of Samoan and Tongan groups living in, and moving between, Auckland and Brisbane. This research seeks to capture the voices, perceptions and experiences of these migrants using a mixed methods approach (both qualitative and quantitative data) that incorporates indigenous research methods (Pacific Island frameworks based on cultural knowledge and protocols). This working paper presents a review of literature that is relevant to the focus of the PhD study, concentrating on Pasifika well-being in Auckland and Brisbane. This paper is the second of a three-part literature review: (1) Pasifika diaspora; (2) Pasifika well-being; and (3) Pasifika methodology.

An overview of available literature suggests well-being dialogue in Australia, specific to Pasifika, is largely descriptive of Pasifika socioeconomic characteristics; often drawn from New Zealand-based and US-based research. Whilst the available literature considering New Zealand-specific Pasifika well-being is more empirical and in-depth, the same cannot be said of the Australian-specific literature. Thus, this paper highlights the need for more Australian-based research focused on Pasifika well-being.

The well-being literature dealing with New Zealand Pasifika, although minimal, is on the cutting-edge of its holistic considerations, with a handful of well-being studies carried out by Pasifika based in New Zealand. A consideration of publications focused on Pasifika perspectives and experiences of well-being, from a range of social disciplines, provides a fresh look at well-being from a Pasifika diasporic perspective; acknowledging the heterogenous aspects of specific Pasifika groups as well as their shared cultural perspectives. On the other hand, the available literature considering Australian-specific Pasifika well-being is lacking; what is available are government summaries and reports that provide broad-stroke statements drawn from Census data.

In relation to the research focus of this review, this paper highlights notable works. Of special note is Manuela and Sibley’s Pacific Island Well-Being Scale, that has been developed and revised, specifically for Pasifika in New Zealand. A very rare collection of cross-cultural perspectives edited by Agee, offers an entry point for researchers into the scholarly writings most relevant to Pasifika well-being studies. Another rarity is the report published by Queensland Health in response to the Pasifika and Māori health needs assessment in 2011. Therefore, this paper not only highlights the ‘silent voids’ in well-being literature but draws focus to the current and relevant dialogue on Pasifika well-being perspectives and experiences in Australia and New Zealand.


April 29, 2019