We Are The Pacific Ocean was created to connect the Pacific community with current Pacific Health research conducted by Dr Ofa Dewes.


Programme of research for Pacific people.


Provide high quality health research and advice that is meaningful, accessible, and useful for Pacific people, with demonstrated service for all.


Expand the existing research platform while developing and retaining a talent pool of Pacific health researchers, and growing our network with other Pacific stakeholders. Our research projects and the career development awards will contribute to achieving this vision.


Dr Ofa Dewes

Dr Ofa Dewes has a health science, public administration and business management background. She has worked in the public, private and international sectors, and has strong personal and professional links with a number of Pacific countries and peoples who have influenced the direction of her research.

Currently an Affiliate Investigator of the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery and Research Fellow at the University of Auckland's School of Nursing, Ofa is interested in ethnic-specific research and evaluation studies among Māori and Pacific population groups across the life-span especially in metabolic diseases including  diabetes and obesity prevention and management, ageing well, and activating communities for better health and education outcomes.

Dr Dewes is Chair of New Zealand’s Health Research Council Pacific Research Committee. She is also a member of the Tongan Health Society Board, Science Leadership Team for the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge, Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Advisory Board at the University of Otago, Unitec Institute of Technology Fono Faufautua Pacific Advisory Committee, and Te Arai Palliative Care and End of Life Research Group.

Dr Dewes was born and raised in Suva, Fiji, and is part-Rotuman, Tongan and Tuvaluan, with affiliation to Ngati Porou.

Kylah Williams

Kylah Williams is an Assistant Researcher for Dr Ofa Dewes, and previously worked in the New Zealand public sector. As recent graduate from American University in Washington, DC, Kylah studied Race, Ethnicity, Identity and Gender as part of an International Relations degree, as well as Communications. She also studied Pacific and Māori studies at Victoria University of Wellington, as a part of an abroad program. She is interested in promoting equality for minorities, specifically bridging communication between communities and the public sector.

Kylah was born in Monterey, California, and is part Swiss, African-American, and Choctaw Native American.