Examining the State of Health Research on Pacific Rainbow Communities in New Zealand; Literatrure Review

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Patrick Thomsen
Sarah Mclean-Osborn
Hollyanna Ainea
Allyssa Verner-Pula


Pacific Health Research, Pacific Rainbow Health, Manalagi Project, Queer/Rainbow Health, MVPFAFF, LGBT


Introduction: Pacific Rainbow/Queer Communities (PRCs) in New Zealand (NZ) have had scant attention paid to the specificities of their health and wellbeing needs in research. Recently, the Health Research Council of NZ funded its first Pacific-specific PRC project (The Manalagi Project) executed through the University of Auckland’s Centre for Pacific Studies. This paper reports a literature review conducted to ascertain the current state of health research on PRCs, Rainbow/Queer and Pacific communities’ health in NZ.

Methods: A scoping review was conducted where relevant public health database search engines were accessed, which included PubMed and Medline to explore both national and international health research pertaining to PRCs, Pacific communities and Rainbow/Queer communities. Additional Google searches were undertaken to identify more ‘grey’ material such as reports, websites, other relevant government sources, as well as non-profit organisation and educational resources not visible via scientific databases.

Findings/Outcome: The review identified published journal articles (n=20), books (n=1), reports (n=25) and theses (n=3) as well as other documents relevant to the study, such as websites and news articles pertaining to PRCs in NZ and abroad. It reveals a severe paucity of health research focused on PRCs domestically and internationally. Although more research is being conducted into the space of Pacific communities, as well as Rainbow/Queer communities, research that is PRC-focused is urgent and critical at this time.

Conclusion: Both Pacific and Rainbow/Queer communities in NZ are socially marginalised, thus experience a raft of health challenges represented by a racist and cisnormative heterosexist health system. This literature review reveals a lack of understanding around the nuances that exist when these experiences intersect and coalesce in the body and experience of PRC members. It has identified a significant gap in Pacific health research that exists in NZ and abroad that urge us to frame future research to also be intersectionally-informed to capture the unique needs and context of PRCs.

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