Ministries, donors need to overcome cultural problems says Tongan graduate

    Tongan ministries need to become more efficient and effective, according to a young Tongan researcher awarded a doctorate at Auckland University’s graduation ceremony today.

    Sisikula Sisifa’s doctoral thesis looked at management practices in five development projects in Tonga.

    It concluded that cultural differences in management practices undermined the projects’ success.

    With Tonga receiving a substantial amount of donor aid funding towards development projects, this was a serious problem.

    But she also said that donor agencies needed to recognise that they needed to adapt their practices to working in the kingdom.

    Sisifa said she was sad that her father, who had supported her studies, was unable to enjoy her graduation.

    He died in her third year at university.

    Sisifa and fellow Tongan Ilaisaane Fifita, both 31, were both awarded doctorates today.

    Earlier this year they became the first Pasifika women at Auckland University’s Business School when they began working as research fellows.

    Sisifa told the New Zealand Herald that when she was a student she wished there were female academics in the business school.

    “Now I get comments from students saying that it’s nice to see a brown female face standing at the front of the class.”

    Fifita said one young male Pacific student told her that having her as an undergraduate tutor had inspired him to do an honours degree.

    She said she was inspired to study marketing after watching her family start their own business from scratch.

    Her research looked at why Tongan and Pakeha female non-smokers don’t smoke.

    She hopes her findings will help design of public health campaigns to persuade other women not to take up the habit.

    One in four Pacific adults smoke in New Zealand, compared to 15 per cent of New Zealand Europeans and 10 per cent of Asian New Zealanders.

    She is applying for funding for research into e-cigarettes and alcohol consumption.

    The  main points

    • Tongan ministries need to become more efficient and effective, according to a young Tongan researcher awarded a doctorate at Auckland University’s graduation ceremony today.
    • Sisikula Sisifa’s doctoral thesis looked at management practices in five development projects in Tonga.
    • Sisifa and fellow Tongan Ilaisaane Fifita, both 31, were both awarded doctorates today.
    • Earlier this year they became the first Pasifika women at Auckland University’s Business School when they began working as research fellows.

    For more information

    First Pasifika academics graduate from university business school

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