Dr Tamasailau Suaalii

PhD Auck. MA(Hons) Auck. LLB/BA Auck.

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Associate Professor


Talofa. Tamasailau currently teaches in the Criminology Programme. She completed both undergraduate and postgraduate university studies at the University of Auckland. She held teaching fellow, research fellow, lecturing and deputy director positions within the University of Auckland's Department of Sociology, Department of Maori and Pacific Health, and Centre for Pacific Studies from 1998-2008. She moved to the University of Otago to take up a senior research fellow position with the Centre for International Health based at the National University of Samoa in Apia from Nov 2008-July 2011. After which she took up senior lecturer and programme director positions with Victoria University of Wellington's (VUW) Va'aomanu Pasifika Unit from 2011 to 2016. Tamasailau returned to the University of Auckland in Oct 2016 as Associate Professor in Sociology/Criminology, School of Social Sciences. As well as working for the university sector, Tamasailau has also held honorary and part-time senior researcher and programme evaluator roles in the state and private sector: mainly with the Waitemata District Health Board's Clinical Research and Resource Centre (2003-2008), and with (as co-director)  Pacific Research and Development Services Ltd (1998-2003). Tamasailau was a member of the Superu and VUW central ethics committees. 

Research | Current

  • Law and custom 
  • Indigenous jurisprudence in the Pacific 
  • Indigenous criminology in the Pacific
  • Pasifika indigenous research methodologies

Teaching | Current

CRIM 302 The Indigenous and the Global

Postgraduate supervision

I am available for supervision of postgraduate student research projects in areas relating to or employing one or more aspects of indigenous criminology, indigenous jurisprudence, and/or Pasifika research methodologies. I currently supervise PhD interdisciplinary research projects in Sociology/Criminology, Education/Sociology, Pacific Studies/Development Studies, Pacific Studies/Linguistics and Applied Language Studies. I have supervised BAHons dissertations and MA and PhD theses to completion in the fields of Pacific Studies, Health Services, Theology, Arts Therapy and Sociology. 


Co-Principal Investigator of a three-year 2016 Marsden Funded Research Project on Maori and Samoan experiences of Youth Justice in New Zealand, Australia and the U.S.A.


PhD Provisional Year Review (PYR) Co-ordinator, Sociology/Criminology 

Member of Sociology/Criminology Postgraduate Committee

Member of New Zealand Sociology Journal Editorial Board

Member of Evaluation Matters Journal Editorial Board

Member of Journal of Samoan Studies Editorial Board

Areas of expertise

Pacific social, justice and health research

Pasifika research methodologies

Pacific jurisprudence

Samoan ontologies and epistemologies

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Member of the Central Pacific Collective Advisory Group, Wellington
  • Member of the Gaualofa Trust Board of Trustees, Samoa

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.
  • Suaalii-Sauni, T. M., Asiasiga, L., Samu, K. S., Robinson, P. G., Warren, H., & Wheeler, A. J. (10/10/2007). Pacific cultural values and practices in health organisational tools. Poster presented at District Health Board Research Fund (DHBRF) Workshop: Innovations for Health - Sharing Knowledge and Building Relationships, Wellington, New Zealand. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Amanda Wheeler


Contact details

Primary office location

HSB - EAST - Bldg 201E
Level 9, Room 931
New Zealand

Web links