Past Pacific Reserach Fellows

Looking upwards in the atrium of the Hedley Bull Building

Dr Orovu Sepoe

BA (Hons) (UPNG), MA (Warwick) PhD (Manchester)

Orovu was with us from June 2011 to September 2012. Formerly a senior lecturer at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), she worked for a year with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM, now UN Women) and later as a private consultant and adviser before joining SSGM as a Pacific Islands Research Fellow in June 2011.

Her research explores the politics of introducing Temporary Special Measures for increasing women’s representation in Parliament in Papua New Guinea. Dr Sepoe has published extensively and is known regionally and internationally for her expertise in Politics, Governance, Gender and Development. Her PhD thesis was published as a book in 2000. She has observed and written about elections since 1992. She has written several reports for the AusAID funded Electoral Support Program and the PNG Electoral Commission, and has also authored reports for other AusAID programs and for several UN Agencies.

During the first half of her time as an SSGM Pacific Research Fellow, Dr Sepoe contributed to the Centre for Democratic Institutions’ program on Women Candidate and Campaign Manager Training in preparation for the 2012 General Election in PNG. In the second half of her fellowship she participated in the 2012 Papua New Guinea general elections domestic observation activity as an academic mentor; she gave two seminars in the SSGM seminar series, and also provided mentoring to participants in the 2012 Pacific Research Colloquium.


Dr Patrick Vakaoti

BA, PG Dip, MA (USP), PhD (Qld)

Period of Fellowship: May 2011 – June 2012

Patrick joined SSGM in May 2011 and was with us until June 2012. With a background in sociology, youth work, and social work, Patrick was formerly employed at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji and more recently at the University of Otago in New Zealand. He has worked on numerous consultancies for UNICEF, Knowing Children, the Pacific Leadership Programme, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community on issues ranging from child protection in Fiji to youth leadership and youth development across the Pacific region. In early 2011, he completed work as part of a team reviewing the Pacific Youth Strategy, contributed to the State of Pacific Youth Report, and attended a meeting in Fiji organized by SPC and UNICEF to establish linkages with regional stakeholders and new initiatives. As part of his research, he attended the Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF) Annual National Youth Forum on 14 May.

Patrick’s research focuses on young Fijian people’s social and community participation; in 2011 he presented two seminars on this topic to AusAID, and one seminar in the SSGM seminar series. In 2012, Patrick produced a discussion paper for the SSGM seminar series entitled: Mapping the Landscape of Young People’s Participation in Fiji . Dr Vakaoti also participated as a mentor in the 2012 Pacific Research Colloquium.


Dr Jack Maebuta

BA, PG Dip Ed, MA (USP), PhD (UNE)

Period of Fellowship: October 2011 – November 2012

Jack joined us in October 2011 and remained until November 2012. He has a background in primary, secondary and university teaching and before undertaking his PhD, he was a Lecturer in Education at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Lautoka Campus, Fiji. He has worked on numerous consultancies for AusAID, UNESCO, and Collaborative for Development Action (CDA) and the World Bank. His PhD research was on the role of education in peace-building in Solomon Islands. In 2010, Jack was awarded the Australian Prime Minister’s Pacific – Australia Award. Prior to joining SSGM, he was contracted as Curriculum Expert for the World Bank Project Pre-Employment Training, a component of the Rapid Employment Project in the Solomon Islands. His current research project investigates the Changing Dynamics of Bride Price in Temotu Nendo, Solomon Islands, and in 2012, he presented a seminar in the SSGM seminar series on this topic. Jack has published a number of peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. In July 2012, and he contributed to a World Bank discussion group on education.