Sign Up

Pacific Health in Aotearoa Update - Auckland on 21 October 2019


posted by Research Admin 1 on 25 September 2019

Date: 21 October 2019

Location: Ko Awatea, Middlemore Hospital, Counties Manukau


The focus of this seminar is on diabetes and cardiovascular health in Pacific communities with particular interest in culturally appropriate practices.

The aim will be to exchange ideas from some of the leading experts on what is working for Pacific peoples. Speakers will talk about the overall view of diabetes and cardiovascular with regards to Pacific peoples in the New Zealand contexts, as well as speakers who will provide a nutritional, pharmaceutical, and genetics perspective with regards to working to support better health outcomes for Pacific peoples.

Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm (Morning tea and lunch will be provided)

Registration fee: $75.00 GST inclusive (Please note that transport and associated costs will not be covered by PHARMAC). To register, go to:

Audience: GP’s, NP’s, nurses and pharmacists working in primary care and have an interest in Pacific and population health.

Presenters and topics

Matafanua Hilda Fa’asalele - Facilitator 

Chief Advisor Pacific Health, Ministry of Health New Zealand

Matafanua Hilda Fa’asalele is primarily responsible for leading and contributing to Pacific health policy, strategy and supporting the development and capability of Pacific Health Providers and Pacific Workforce development across the Ministry and health sector. She has over 30 years of experience in nursing, well child health, health auditing, evaluation and tertiary education. Prior to the role in the Ministry, she was the General Manager for Pacific Health at Auckland DHB.

Dr Bryan Betty - Primary Care Perspective

General Practitioner, Porirua Union and Community Health Services in Cannons Creek

Dr Bryan Betty is  General Practitioner at Porirua Union and Community Health Services in Cannons Creek, East Porirua. His practice is in a  very high needs area and his patient  population has a high rate of diabetes.   He was previously  Deputy Medical Director at PHARMAC, and has recently been appointed Medical Director at the RNZCGP. He sits on the  Diabetes National Leadership Group at the  Ministry of Health and on the Capital Coast Diabetes Network. 

Dr Rinki Murphy - Clinical insights from research into Pacific Communities

Endocrinologist, Auckland DHB, Counties DHB

Dr Rinki Murphy is an endocrinologist, who works in specialty diabetes clinics at Auckland and Counties DHBs'.  She is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Auckland and a Principle Investigator at the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery, a national centre of research excellence for metabolic diseases, infectious diseases and cancer. Rinki’s research in diabetes and obesity spans genetics, physiology and clinical research, in which she has over 100 publications.

Dr Corina Grey - Pacific overview of cardiovascular health in New Zealand

Public Health Physician, Epidemiologist, Auckland and Waitematā DHB, University of Auckland 

Dr Corina Grey is a Public Health Physician and epidemiologist with roles at Auckland/Waitematā DHB Funding and Planning and at the University of Auckland. She recently completed her PhD on the epidemiology of coronary disease in New Zealand, and her work is focused on Pacific health and health equity. 

Dr Ofa Dewes - Understanding genetics of Pacific peoples

Associate Investigator, Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery & Research Fellow at University of Auckland's Department of Molecular Medicine & Pathology and School of Nursing, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.

Dr Ofa Dewes is interested in ethnic-specific research and evaluation studies among Pacific population groups across the life-span especially in the areas of people development, type 2 diabetes and obesity, ageing well, and activating communities for better health and education outcomes. Ofa was born and raised in Suva, Fiji, and is part-Rotuman, Tongan and Tuvaluan, with affiliation to Ngati Porou.


Professor Peter Shepherd - Understanding genetics of Pacific peoples

Deputy Director, Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery

Professor Peter Shepherd’s lab is interested in how defects in signal transduction pathways can lead to the development of cancer and diabetes. He is also specifically interested in understanding how genetic factors in Māori and Pacific populations lead to increased risk of metabolic diseases.

Prof Shepherd has launched a number of MWC funded outreach initiatives, including the Sugar in Schools campaign and the Professional Teacher Development Days. He was awarded the 2017 RSNZ Callaghan Medal and the CLNZ NZ Educational Book award, recognising his success as a science communicator. Prof Shepherd has been the deputy director of the Maurice Wilkins Centre since 2013, the Chair of the Queenstown Molecular Biology Society since 2005 and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi in 2016.

Candice Apelu Mariner - Faith led community health outreach

Integration Lead-Pacific Health Unit, Wairarapa and Hutt Valley DHBs

Candice currently works as an Integration Lead within the Pacific Directorate at the Hutt Valley District Health Board. She has over 17 years of experience working in both the Sports and Health settings mostly in community development and primary health care.

Candice was born and raised in Samoa and her focus is on improving the health and wellbeing by leveraging off the strengths of Pacific families and communities to be agents of change and good stewards of their health. Her work over the years has involved partnering with Pacific communities and working across to PHOs, NGOs and Secondary care to empower Pacific communities, families and individuals to achieve good health, well-being and sustain positive social change.