Dr Jemaima Sipaea Tiatia-Seath

PhD, DPH, MA (Hons), BA

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HOS - Te Wananga o Waipapa


Jemaima Tiatia-Seath is currently Co-Head of School and Head of Pacific Studies (Acting), Te Wānanga o Waipapa, School of Māori Stuides and Pacific Studies, University of Auckland. She is of Samoan descent and has a community/public health background. Her research interests include: mental health, Pacific suicide prevention and postvention, youth development, Pacific health and wellbeing and inequities and inequalities in health.

Research | Current

  • Principal investigator - Pacific Health Research Knowledge Translation project, Health Research Council of NZ (HRC) funded - 'Heilala Malu – Tongan Framework for Suicide Prevention Resource’ (2017).
  • Principal investigator for Te Ra o Te Waka Hourua funded - 'Pacific Suicide Postvention Guidelines' with Hibiscus Research Ltd (2017).
  • Principal investigator for Te Ra o Te Waka Hourua funded - 'Suicide Postvention: Support for Pacific Communities' with Hibiscus Research Ltd (2016) http://hdl.handle.net/2292/32391
  • Co-investigator - The University of Auckland Adolescent Health Research Group https://www.fmhs.auckland.ac.nz/en/faculty/adolescent-health-research-group.html
  • Principal investigator - HRC and Ministry of Health Pacific Partnership Programme funded project - ‘Suicide Prevention for Tongan Youth in New Zealand' (2015).
  • Postdoctoral Pacific Health Research Fellowship HRC funded - 'Suicide and Samoans: The Journey Towards Prevention’ (2014).
  • HRC Pacific Health PhD Research Award - ‘Reasons to Live: NZ-born Samoan Young People's Responses to Suicidal Behaviours’ (2003).
  • Principal investigator - HRC Project Grant - ‘Pacific Youth Emergency Department Suicide Study’ (2000).  

Teaching | Current

PACIFIC 100 Introduction to Pacific Studies, Semester I, 2018

PACIFIC 206/306 - Pacific Youth: Contemporary Realities in the Pacific Region, Semester I, 2018

PACIFIC 702 - Topics in Pacific Research, Semester 1, 2018


Postgraduate supervision

PhD in progress

2017: Caleb Marsters - Run it straight! - Pasifika men, mental wellbeing and elite sports, Pacific Studies, University of Auckland

2016: Therese Kiely - Pacific young women’s images of God and mental wellbeing (with Caroline Blyth). Theology,  University of Auckland

2015: Eliza Puna - Cook Islands youth: Positive mental health wellbeing and suicide prevention. Pacific Studies, University of Auckland


Masters in progress

2017: Rose Palmer -  Factors that foster positive mental health status in unpaid at-home caregivers for the elderly in New Zealand (with Ngaire Kerse). Dissertation for Master of Public Health, School of Population Health, University of Auckland

2016: Joanna Minster -  Cultural resilience and mental wellbeing among multi-ethnic Cook Islands young adults. Master of Public Health, School of Population Health, University of Auckland

2016: Sili Pita - Navigating the historical context of incest in Samoa: 1900’s–2000s (with Damon Salesa). Master of Arts, Pacific Studies, University of Auckland

2016: Sonia Pope - Exploring the intergenerational views of wellbeing among Tongan women (with Tanya Samu). Master of Arts, Education, University of Auckland


Masters completed

2017: Caleb Marsters - Young Pacific male athletes and positive mental health wellbeing. Master of Public Health, Pacific Health, University of Auckland

2016: Tony Patolo - Exploring young Pacific tertiary students’ views and experiences of bullying. Master of Arts, Pacific Studies, University of Auckland

2016: Desiree Chan Chui - Violence against women in Samoa: 1970s-1990s (with Damon Salesa). Master of Arts, Pacific Studies, University of Auckland

2015: Cecelia Faumuina Khaka - Malanga: The voice of positive dissonance. Master of Philosophy - Art and Design, AUT (with Dr Webley Ings and David Sinfield)

2013: Eliza Puna - New Zealand born Cook Islands youth views towards positive mental wellbeing and suicide prevention. Master of Public Health, University of Auckland

2013: Drollet Joseph - Culturally competent approaches in reducing obesity for Cook Islands people in New Zealand. Dissertation for Master of Arts, Pacific Studies, University of Auckland

Areas of expertise

  • Pacific suicide prevention, postvention and research 
  • Pacific health and wellbeing 
  • Youth development 
  • Pacific studies
  • Mental health 
  • Pacific cultural competencies
  • Injury prevention

Committees/Professional groups/Services

2018: Ministerial Appointment to the Mental Health and Addictions Services Inquiry

2017-current: Member of the New Zealand Rugby League NZ Wellbeing Committee

2014-2017: Appointed to the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s New Zealand Suicide Mortality Review Committee

2016-current: Appointed to Unitec’s Standing Committee, Fono Faufautua Council 

2016-current: Committee member of the Health Promotion Agency's National Depression Initiative Advisory Group 

2014-current: Committee member of the Mental Health Foundation's Suicide Bereavement Advisory 

2014-current: Member of Ara Taiohi: For People Working with Young People

2014-current: Member of the International Association for Suicide Prevention

2012-2014: Member of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry

2005-current: Member of PACIFICA (Pacific Allied Women’s Council Inspires Faith and Ideals Concerning All) Auckland Central Branch


Reviewer for:

Journal of Indigenous Wellbeing: Te Mauri - Pimatisiwin

New Zealand Medical Journal

Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology

Pacific Health Review

Journal of Primary Health Care



Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Thabrew, H., Gandeza, E., Bahr, G., Bettany, D., Bampton, C., Cooney, E., ... Tiatia-Seath, J. (2018). The management of young people who self-harm by New Zealand Infant, child and adolescent mental health services: Cutting-edge or cutting corners?. Australasian Psychiatry10.1177/1039856217748248
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Hiran Thabrew
  • Tiatia-Seath, J. (2018). The importance of Pacific cultural competency in healthcare. Pacific Health Dialog, 21 (1), 8-9. 10.26635/phd.2018.909
  • Tiatia-Seath, J., Lay-Yee, R., & Von Randow, M. (2017). Morbidity from intentional self-harm among Pacific peoples in New Zealand 1996–2015. New Zealand Medical Journal, 130 (1467), 23-31.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Martin von Randow, Roy Lay-Yee
  • Tucker-Masters, L., & Tiatia-Seath, J. (2017). Reviewing the literature on anxiety and depression in Pacific youth: A fresh perspective. New Zealand Medical Student Journal (25), 24-28. Related URL.
  • Tiatia-Seath, J., Lay-Yee, R., & von Randow, M. (2017). Supporting the bereavement needs of Pacific communities in Aotearoa New Zealand following a suicide. Journal of Indigenous Wellbeing: Te Mauri-Pimatisiwin, 2 (2), 129-141.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Roy Lay-Yee, Martin von Randow
  • Puna, E. P., & Tiatia-Seath, J. (2017). Defining positive mental wellbeing for New Zealand-born Cook Islands youth. Journal of Indigenous Wellbeing, 2 (1), 97-107. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Eliza Puna
  • Tiatia-Seath, J., Lay-Yee, R., & Von Randow, M. (2017). Suicide Mortality among Pacific peoples in New Zealand, 1996–2013. New Zealand Medical Journal, 130 (1454), 21-29. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/34320
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Martin von Randow, Roy Lay-Yee
  • Tiatia-Seath, J. (2017). Negotiating personhood in light of Pacific suicide prevention: #timetotalk #pasifikasolutions. In U. L. Vaai, U. Nabobo-Baba (Eds.) The Relational Self: Decolonising Personhood in the Pacific (pp. 79-101). Suva, Fiji: University of the South Pacific and Pacific Theological College.


Contact details

Office hours

By appointment

Primary location

Level 1, Room 103B
New Zealand

Social links

Web links