Dr Melani Shyleen Anae

MA, PhD (Auckland)


Melani was Senior Research Fellow for the Pacific Health Research Centre, School of Medicine, University of Auckland 1996-97, and lectured in the Anthropology Department 1998-2000. In 2000 she was appointed Senior lecturer in Pacific Studies at the Centre for Pacific Studies. She was Director of the Centre 2002-2006 and was instrumental in growing it from a small language-based programme into a collaborative hub for the study of Pacific culture, history, identity, art, language, performing arts and literature, all centred on a modern Fale Pasifika complex.She is now Senior Lecturer, Director of Research, Pacific Studies, Te Wananga o Waipapa, University of Auckland.

Research interests: Pacific identity and ethnicity, NZ born Samoans/communities, research methodologies.

Research | Current

  • Pacific identity and ethnicity
  • Pacific transnationalism
  • Pacific research methodologies and relational ethics

Melani is involved in much local and international teaching, research, and consultancy in the areas of ethnicity, health, education, Pacific research methodologies, and Pacific approaches to a broad range of social issues and has published extensively in these areas.

Her current research interests include regional processes of migration, urbanisation, ethnicity, and the politics of identity. Her work focuses specifically on finely nuanced understandings of identity construction of Pacific peoples and communities in New Zealand. She was one of two principal investigators for the Ministry of Consumer Affairs project "Pacific Consumers’ Behaviour and Experience in Credit Markets, with Particular Reference to the ‘Fringe Lending’ Market".

Melani was a principal investigator in the development phase of a longitudinal study of children and families in New Zealand for the Health Research Council and Ministry of Social Development. Melani is also a member of the project Academic Reference Group for Star Path: Project for Participation and Success, which deals with the widening of Māori and Pacific educational participation and success, and is Deputy-Chair of the SUPERU Families Commission Pacific Reference Group. She is also a member of the PBRF Pacific Panel.

In 2007 Melani was a recipient of the Fulbright New Zealand Scholar Award, which allowed her to examine changes in ethnic identity among first- and second-generation Hawaiian and US-born Samoans arising from the Samoan diaspora. In 2014 she was awarded a Marsden Grant from the Royal Society of New Zealand for her project 'Transnational Pacific elites'.

Teaching | Current

PACIFIC 300 NZ-Born Pacific Identities

Postgraduate supervision

Melani supervises dissertation and thesis students in Pacific Studies, as well as others from other Faculties at the University.


2014     Marsden Grant (Transnational matai (chiefs))

2008     Companion to the Queen Service Order (QSO)

2007     Fulbright New Zealand Senior Scholar Award


Postgraduate Adviser, Director of Research, Pacific Studies

Theme Leader –Identity and Well-being, Te Whare Kura, University of Auckland Thematic Research Initiative

Areas of expertise

Pacific identity and ethnicity, Pacific transnationalism, Pacific research methodologies and relational ethics

Committees/Professional groups/Services

2014-            Member of Families Commission

2011-2013     Marsden Fund Social Sciences Panel

2016&2012   Member of SSOC Panel, Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF)

2010-2012     Member of Ministry of Education Pasifika Education Research Priorities Committee

2009-2012     Member of Pacific Reference Group - Growing up in New Zealand Study

2008-2012     Member of the Pacific Academy of BRCSS (Building Research Capacity in the Social Sciences)

2009-2012     Fulbright Selection Committee for US Fulbright Graduate Student Award Applications

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Anae, M. (2019). Faamatai: A Globalized Pacific Identity. In S. Ratuva (Ed.) The Palgrave Handbook of Ethnicity (pp. ). Singapore: Palgrave, Macmillan. 10.1007/978-981-13-0242-8_85-1
  • Manuela, S., & Anae, M. (2017). Pacific youth, acculturation and identity: The relationship between ethnic identity and well-being - new directions for research. Pacific Dynamics: Journal of Interdisciplinary Research, 1 (1), 129-147.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/38875
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Sam Manuela
  • Fetui, V., Anae, M., Tominiko, F., & Lima, I. (2017). Fa’aaloalo and its great importance in everyday lives: Transnational matai perspectives. Measina a Sāmoa, vol.7, 2016 Proceedings : E sui faiga, ae tumau faavae, 7, 205-226. National University of Sāmoa, Samoa: The Centre for Sāmoan Studies, National University of Sāmoa. Related URL.
  • Anae, M., Tominiko, S. F., Fetui, M. V., & Lima, M. I. (2017). Faavae o matai: Transnational women matai voices. Measina a Sāmoa, vol.7, 2016 Proceedings : E sui faiga, ae tumau faavae, 7, 185-204. National University of Sāmoa, Samoa: The Centre for Sāmoan Studies, National University of Sāmoa. Related URL.
  • Tominiko, F., Anae, M., Fetui, V., & Lima, I. (2017). The transnational matai and the foreign homeland; does the toloa still return to the water?. Measina a Sāmoa, vol.7, 2016 Proceedings : E sui faiga, ae tumau faavae, 7, 241-256. National University of Sāmoa, Samoa. Related URL.
  • Anae, M., Tominiko, F., Fetui, V., & Lima, I. (2017). Transnational Sāmoan chiefs: Views of the fa'amatai (chiefly system). The Journal of Samoan Studies, 7 (1), 38-50.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/42725
  • Anae, M. (2016). Teu le va: Samoan relational ethics. Knowledge Cultures, 4 (3), 117-130.
  • Anae, M., Iuli, L., & Tamu, L. (Eds.) (2015). Polynesian Panthers : Pacific protest and affirmative action in Aotearoa New Zealand 1971-1981. Wellington, New Zealand: Huia Press. Pages: 153.


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 2, Room 201
New Zealand

Web links