Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Samoan grandmother Vic’s first Pacific Studies PhD graduate

MEDIA RELEASE

13 December 2013 

Samoan grandmother Victoria’s first Pacific Studies PhD graduate


Click for big version.

A 60-year-old grandmother, Dr Esther Tumama Cowley-Malcolm, has become the first student to graduate with a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington’s Pacific Studies programme.

The Ohope Beach-based grandmother of one says she doesn’t take the achievement lightly: “I feel humbled and privileged. It’s an honour and for me it feels appropriate being an older student. I guess that’s what elders do: lead. I feel like I’m leading the way for others.” 

Dr Cowley-Malcolm’s doctoral research is an in-depth exploration of Samoan parents’ perceptions of, and responses to, aggressive behaviour in young children and the usefulness of an intervention tool named Play Nicely.

Dr Cowley-Malcolm says her doctoral study was a culmination of the different areas she has worked in over the course of her career—she started as a nurse, then became a teacher, worked on prisoner education and was a researcher in a university-based Pacific longitudinal study.

Although she has had a number of career shifts, Dr Cowley-Malcolm says a common thread in all her roles is an emphasis on serving the community. 

“Doing my PhD was an extension of my work ‘of service’ to a community I was raised in. It was a way I could give back and make a contribution.”

Dr Cowley-Malcolm’s research took her back to her home town of Tokoroa where she conducted on-going interviews with 18 Samoan parents of children aged one to three years old.

As part of the study, parents were shown the CD ROM Play Nicely which is a conflict resolution tool that guides parents and others working with young children through strategies and techniques for managing aggressive behaviour.

Parents were interviewed before and after ‘Play Nicely’ was used and, says Dr Cowley-Malcolm,  the findings of her study suggest they responded positively to the tool and came away with a greater understanding of their children’s behaviour and the impact their responses had on their children.

The findings suggest that for many of the parents in the study, their perceptions of aggressive behaviour in their children and their response to it is influenced by a mix of cultural values and beliefs from their Samoan heritage and their New Zealand upbringing.

Dr Cowley-Malcolm is a strong believer in the lessons Play Nicely teaches because they are based on sound research evidence and says she has learnt a lot herself through all her university studies including her PhD. 

“I think I’ve been a good mother but knowing what I know now I think I can be an even better grandmother!”

Play Nicely was created by researchers from Vanderbilt University in the United States.

With the help of her cousin and former Bro’ Town animator Ali Cowley, Dr Cowley-Malcolm is now considering adapting ‘Play Nicely’ to develop it into an interactive app aimed at young, tech savvy Pacific parents.

After completing a PhD most people would take a break but not Dr Cowley-Malcolm—along with developing the app she is also finishing a post graduate diploma in management of not-for-profit organisations.  

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

With Hunters & Collectors: The Rolling Stones Announce New Auckland Date

It’s the news New Zealand has been waiting for. The Rolling Stones today confirmed the rescheduled dates and venues for both the Australian and New Zealand legs of their highly anticipated ’14 On Fire’ tour. Now, Frontier Touring is also delighted ... More>>

ALSO:

Flying Things: Conchords, Pretties Help BATS Fly Home

The launch of BATS theatre’s fundraising campaign has taken off – with a bit of help from their friends. And with friends like theirs… An event last night hosted by Te Radar at Wellington’s latest waterfront venue, Shed 6, featured Fly My Pretties and, in a dream-come-true scenario, Flight of the Conchords. More>>

ALSO:

Environment: Zoo’s Own Wētā Workshop Produces Rare Giants For Release

Following unprecedented breeding and rearing success, Auckland Zoo is today releasing 150 of New Zealand’s largest giant wētā, the wētā punga, onto pest-free Motuora Island in the Hauraki Gulf. A further 150 will be released onto Tiritiri Matangi next month. More>>

Girls On Film: Divergent Hits The Big Screen

n January, Catching Fire (the second film in the Hunger Games series) not only became the biggest US box office success of 2013 : it also became the first film starring a female actor (ie. Jennifer Lawrence) to top the annual domestic earnings chart since The Exorcist, 40 years ago. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: No Travel Sanctions For Russian Billionaire’s Superyacht

On the same day that New Zealand announced travel sanctions against selected Russians, a Russian billionaire’s superyacht berthed in Wellington Harbour. More>>

ALSO:

Mental Health: UC Researchers Believe Robots Can Persuade People To Conform

A team of University of Canterbury (UC) researchers and scientists believe robots can persuade people to conform through group pressure... ``Our results showed that robots can induce conformity but to a significantly lesser degree than humans." More>>

NZ On Air: Local Content Holds Steady At 32% Of Television Schedules

Since 1989 NZ On Air has measured local free-to-air television content. The report compares the schedules of the six national free-to-air channels, to observe trends and changes in the local content landscape. More>>

Arts Fest: 2014 New Zealand Festival A Spectacular Celebration

The New Zealand Festival welcomed the world to Wellington over 24 days (21 Feb – 16 Mar) of arts events across the city. “[current figures show] slight increase on the 110,000 tickets issued in 2012. It’s a great result.” More>>

Opera: Happy 70th Birthday Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

Our first lady of song who “feels more like at 15 year old” will celebrate her significant birthday on stage at Covent Garden tomorrow night (Friday morning NZT), performing in the Royal Opera House’s production of La fille du régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment) as La Duchess de Crackentorp. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news