Tarapuhi Vaeau

Teaching in 2020


Ngāti Raukawa ki Te Tonga, Te Ati Haunui-a-Papārangi


My research interests lie in historical trauma and poverty, indigenous health, the politics of agency in vulnerable spaces, and indigenous methodologies.

I am currently part of the ‘Wellbeing of Older Adults’ research group based at Victoria University of Wellington.We are exploring what wellbeing means for older adults in Aotearoa.

My Masters research explores how experiences of contemporary Māori are framed by neoliberalism and colonialism in Aotearoa. Blending a kaupapa Māori approach with collaborative autoethnography and interviews, it illustrates how space, state bureaucracies, and public discourse become violent sites of (re)traumatisation for Māori. I develop a theoretical framework that pairs structural violence with historical trauma to explain how Māori internalise colonial discourses disseminated through media and government processes, and how Māori become responsibilised for their health and wellbeing against a backdrop of poverty, racism, and a neoliberal state. I also privilege whakapapa, whanaungatanga, and wairuatanga to show how Māori understand and heal from historical trauma. Overall, I argue that neoliberal constructions of health can (re)traumatise Māori and restrict possibilities for their healing, and that mātauranga Māori has an important, hopeful role to play in resisting neoliberal processes and healing from trauma.

Selected Publications

Bryers-Brown, T. (2018). Creating an Accessible Commons: Ethnographic knowledge beyond academia. Commoning Ethnography, 1(1), 1-5. doi:10.26686/ce.v1i1.4125

Bryers-Brown, T., & Trundle, C. J. (2017). Indigenizing military citizenship: remaking state responsibility and care towards Māori veterans' health through the Treaty of Waitangi. AlterNative: an international journal of indigenous peoples, 13(1), 43-50. doi:10.1177/1177180117695410

McFarlane, J., Pivac Solomon, J., Caddick, L., Cameron, S., Briggs, B., Jera, M., . . . Dalzell, D. (2017). The voices of people in hard-to-reach communities : responsive tailoring of Building Financial Capability services to ensure cultural and social inclusion. Wellington: Ministry of Social Development.

Vaeau, T. M., & Jera, M. (2017). Exploring Cheque Use in New Zealand.. ThinkPlace NZ.

Vaeau, T. M., Jera, M., Lunnon, J., Wilson, J., Irwin, C., & Teepa, M. (2016). The Realities and Challenges of Parenting: S.K.I.P Empathy Cards. Wellington: ThinkPlace.

Vaeau, T. M., Jera, M., & Wu, R. (2015). Tui Ora Mental Health Services: Exploring the Way We Work. Wellington: ThinkPlace NZ.

Vaeau, T. M., Dalzell, D., & Harrison, P. (2015). Māmā, Matua, Pēpē, Tamariki: Comprehensive Pathway.. Wellington: ThinkPlace NZ.

Vaeau, T. M., Scully, J., & Dalzell, D. (n.d.). Industry Insights. Wellington: ThinkPlace NZ.

Conference papers and oral presentations

Vaeau, T. (2018). Exploring possibilities for historical trauma theory informed wellbeing models in contemporary Aotearoa. Society of Medical Anthropology in Aotearoa Symposium 2018. Victoria University of Wellington.

Bryers-Brown, T. (2017). Reflexivity and Design Research: Empathy Research with Tangata Whaikaha. Ministry of Health Māori Deep Dive. Ministry of Health.

Bryers-Brown, T., Macleod, A., Schubert-Mcarthur, T., & Steele, B. (2017). Roundtable Discussion: The Past. 50 Years of Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington: Graduate Symposium: Moving Forward, Glancing Backwards - Past, Present and the Possibilities in/of Anthropology. Victoria University of Wellington.

Bryers-Brown, T. (2017). Roundtable: Challenging Key Ideas in Medical Anthropology: Local Perspectives, Global Contexts: Healing. Society of Medical Anthropology in Aotearoa Symposium. Victoria University of Wellington.

Bryers-Brown, T. (2016). Cultural Competency and Cultural Capability in Design: Te Tiriti, Understanding Microagressions, Representation and Reflexivity. Wellington.

Byers-Brown, T. (2016). Me Kotahi te Whakaaro o Ngā Kawekawe, ka Ora te Pū o te Wheke. Pāpāwai Marae.

Bryers-Brown, T. (2016). Healing Intergenerational Trauma: Implications for the Detailed Design of the Disability Support System Transformation. Enabling Good Lives: Māori Deep Dive Wānanga. Te Hotu Manawa O Rangitaane O Manawatu Marae.

Bryers-Brown, T. (2015). Understanding Intergenerational Trauma and Education Experiences of Māori and Pasifika Students. Keeping Hope and Joy Alive in a Tertiary Counselling Environment - Counselling Hui. Victoria University of Wellington.

Bryers-Brown, T., & Hancock, T. (2015). Roundtable: Credible Ethnography? Alice Goffman, Dangerous Fieldsites, and the Problems of Proof. SACS Seminar Series. Victoria University of Wellington.

Bryers-Brown, T. (2014). Inter-generational trauma and Māori health. Competing Responsibilities Conference. Victoria University of Wellington.

Bryers-Brown, T. (2014). Indigenous Knowledge and the Politics of Responsibility. Panel Chair. Competing Responsibilities Conference. Victoria University of Wellington.

Bryers-Brown, T. (2013). Structural Violence and Māori Health. Anthropology and Agency Honours Student Conference. Victoria University of Wellington.


Māori representative Society of Medical Anthropology Aotearoa
Mahi Tahi: Māori and Anthropology Aotearoa/New Zealand

Other Work

As a design research consultant I work with teams in in public and private businesses to conduct empathy research and create designs that support structural transformation. I achieve this, for example, by creating new models of care, human centred funding models, as well as general practice and comprehensive service pathways.

I am a co-founder of a collective for young indigenous professionals in Wellington called TātouTātou. We work on projects that aim to improve the wellbeing of young people of colour in Aotearoa. We have recently been funded by Like Minds, Like Mine Pūtea Hapori to co-produce a Samoan youth mental health zine. We also design and facilitate bespoke cultural competency training.

Teaching in 2020