Tāmaki Innovation Campus


Atrium 2

We asked around the campus for reflections backward and forward: what is your main highlight or achievement this year, and what gets you out of bed in the morning and racing into work. Here’s a snapshot of what we gleaned - more next time!


Shanthi Ameratunga, Professor of Public Health, Section of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, School of Population Health, FMHS

1.    May 15 2018 – A memorable and heart-warming farewell shared with many wonderful colleagues, mentors, students, friends and family. My journey at UoA has taught me a lot, I’ve felt humbled by the highlights and rejuvenated by the low points. Thanks one and all for the inspiration ‘to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield’.     

2.    I didn’t race to work, but I am excited about working with racism! Can we dig deep within ourselves and our institutions to overcome processes that prevent us seeing and countering what is euphemistically called ‘unconscious bias’?   


Rachel Simon-Kumar, Associate Professor, School of Population Health, FMHS

1.     This is both a high and lowlight. In July, I spent time in Kerala, South India to run a pilot for my project ‘Consumption & Conservation: Gender Perspectives’. The study looks at rising consumerism in the state (the highest in India) and the implications for personal and ecological wellbeing. I spent time in the ‘field’ among low-income and high-income women talking to them about their values around consumption, environmental sustainability, challenges of waste management, food security, etc. It is an area where there is nil research. A week after I returned from Kerala, as you may have read in the news, unprecedented monsoon rainfall led to devastating floods that the state hasn’t seen in a hundred years. Amongst images of debris left behind after the waters receded are the endless stretches of plastic bottles – a reminder of unsustainable consumption practices.

2.    Ideas. Ideas invigorate me – whether it is an argument I am fine-tuning for a paper, a curiosity-driven research question, planning how to turn research into applied practice, or a debate with a collaborator on the fundamental assumptions we build our research on. That, and, yeah, deadlines ….


Suzanne Purdy, Professor, Head of School, School of Psychology, Faculty of Science

1.    There have been many research and other highlights but here is a student-related highlight. I am very proud of the three PhD students that I supervise or co-supervise who successfully defended their theses in the past few months. Their theses are in different areas and all have made very important contributions. Sarah Lount found increased risk for language and hearing difficulties in 14-17 year olds involved in Youth Justice system. The young people and the professionals interacting with them reported how communication challenges affected their experiences. Sarah Leadley’s PhD reported her success with a home-based applied behaviour analysis approach for weaning children off tube feeding and onto oral feeding. Many of the children had been tube-fed for years because of a feeding difficulty and were able to transition to eating a range of foods. Robin Matthews showed that participating in group music activities was beneficial, but singing in a choir plus related homework had unique voice, respiratory and quality of life benefits for people with Parkinson’s disease.

2.    I do enjoy the future-thinking and problem solving aspects of my role as Head of School, Psychology, but I especially value the opportunity to spend time with people helping them to find their path to academic success. I enjoy meetings with colleagues in the School of Psychology and with my research students and collaborators, and teaching my favourite subjects to our Psychology undergraduate and Master of Speech Language Therapy Practice students. Research meetings in a coffee shop at 8am are probably the most effective at getting me racing into work!