A mental health and well-being specialist Dr Jemaina Tiatia-Seath from the University of Auckland is the team leader in a research about the impacts of climate change on the mental health of Niueans.
Dr. Tiatia-Seath who is also the co-head of the School of Maori and Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland. She told BCN news about the research which she considers a real opportunity to reconfigure the narrative around that mental health and climate change.
“For instance, is climate change and mental well- being a real priority for us in the first instance. We know it is but we need to document it and obviously it needs to come from the people.
Whether you’re an expert in those sectors, whether you’re working on the ground or whether you have an interest in it. We have invited as many people as possible to be able to give us or to gift us their pearls of wisdom”.
Dr. Tiatia-Seath says that quite often in the discourse on climate change and mental health, “it is a lot of outsiders looking in and speaking for us rather than with us or allowing us or giving us the mic to speak for ourselves”.
“We know that mental health and well-being affect us in many ways whether it’s health whether its social or whether it’s in the justice system so what does it mean to you and how best can we frame that. Of course, climate change is something that’s not going to go away so it’s very important that Niue is at the table” said Dr. Jemaima
The research is endorsed by the Niue government with Cabinet support and will involve Niueans in Niue and those in New Zealand.
The research team includes Niuean post-graduate student Jamal Talagi Veidreyaki who is on the island and will be the local contact on island.
The final report of the research is expected to be released next year.