Talofa, my name is Ashalyna Noa. I am a New Zealand born Samoan raised in Auckland and Christchurch. My research interests lie in Pacific studies, diplomacy and international relations.
My thesis looks at China and New Zealand’s foreign aid and soft power in the Pacific. This topic follows on from my Master’s thesis (completed in 2010) which analysed the impact of the Chinese in Samoa. Being born and raised in New Zealand with my mother being Chinese-Samoan, I have always had an interest in how these countries relate to one another. Not to mention in the current geopolitical climate, it is very timely to be doing this research. With both traditional and contemporary aid donors being heavily involved in the Pacific, this research hopes to provide some insight on how the Pacific navigates and addresses the priorities and implications of donor interests. As Pacific countries are heavily dependent on aid, this research will also provide a highly relevant analysis on the context of donor relationships and how they may shift or change in the coming years.
I was attracted to study through MBC as it did not confine my topic to a particular research discipline. Although my topic has a focus on the Pacific region, it is multi-disciplinary dabbling in international relations, history and development studies for example. In addition, studying towards a research degree can be quite isolating, but at MBC I automatically felt understood as Pasifika person especially with the support of the MBC Scholars Collective.