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Career Summary


My work provides a contribution to address the lack of culturally appropriate, comprehensive studies in relation to Polynesian health in Australia. As Maori and Pacific Islanders are one of the fastest growing population groups in Australia, their long term health outcomes, particularly associated with obesity-related disease, will become of greater concern for Australian healthcare. I have published articles in relation to the complex issues surrounding this issue to raise awareness and also provide insight into more effective nursing and allied health practice in relation to working with this CALD group.

Other publications concern Polynesian masculinities and sport. Pasifika are highly visible in Rugby League and Rugby Union. These articles address issues affecting these players both on and off the field.

I also teach into the Masters of Social Change and Development. This program explores issues around the politics of aid and development and better ways to deliver more effective targetted programs. This entails a mix of research methods examining issues of governance, capacity building and social justice


  • PhD, University of Newcastle, 08/08/2012
  • Master of Arts, Charles Sturt University, 10/04/2003
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle, 08/08/2012


Research keywords

  • Indigenous health
  • Polynesian masculinities
  • Polynesian youth
  • gender and development
  • obesity

Research expertise

Expertise in the area obesity and its implications in Indigenous and migrant communities. Exploration of transitional youth masculinities in the extended Polynesian migrant community. This is one of Australia's fastest growing migrant population groups. Also experienced in both quantitative and qualitative research methods in particular regard to health and development studies.

Fields of Research

111700Public Health And Health Services50


Nomination for Teacher of the Year Award

2012Teacher of the Year Award
University of Newcastle (Australia)
Nomination for Teacher of the Year Award 2012


All Blacks or wallabies? Identity transitions and notions of multiple trasnational identities for Maori and Pacific Island migrants to Australia
The Australian Sociological Association, Australia (Conference Presentation - non published.)
Lena Rodriguez, Ms
AQUA, Australia (Qualitative Archive Guidelines Forum)
Lena Rodriguez, Ms
Social Sciences & Health Research Unit, Monash University, Australia (Conference Presentation - non published.)


PURAI is a newly launched initiative from the University of Newcastle that is attracting international scholars around issues concerning Black, Indigenous and Diasporic Studies



For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Click on a category title below to expand the list of citations for that specific category.

Chapter (1 outputs)

2011Rodriguez LL, 'The new culture wars: the growth of Polynesian migrant youth gangs in the United States', Essays on Social Themes, Athens Institute for Education and Research, Athens 203-214 (2011) [B1]

Journal article (6 outputs)

2014Rodriguez LL, George J, 'Is Genetic Labeling around Obesity Contributing to Resistance and Fatalism in Polynesian Communities', Contemporary Pacific, 26 65-93 (2014) [C1]
2014McDonald B, Rodriguez L, '┬┐It's our meal ticket┬┐: Pacific bodies, labour and mobility in Australia', Asia Pacific Journal of Sport and Social Science, 3 236-249 (2014) [C1]
2013Rodriguez LL, McDonald B, 'After the whistle: Issues impacting on the health and well-being of Polynesian players off the field', Asia-Pacific Journal of Health, Sport & Physical Education, 4 201-215 (2013) [C1]
2013Rodriguez L, 'The subjective experience of Polynesians in the Australian health system', HEALTH SOCIOLOGY REVIEW, 22 411-421 (2013) [C1]
2009George JR, Rodriguez LL, 'Hybrid youth identity in the Maori/Pacific Island diaspora in Australia: A study of young urban Polynesian men in Sydney', New Zealand Sociology, 24 3-23 (2009) [C1]
2006Rodriguez LL, 'The role of education in good governance for the future South Pacific', PAMBU: Pacific Arts Bureau Newslatter, 5 5-7 (2006) [C2]
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Conference (6 outputs)

2011Rodriguez LL, 'Identity transitions: Notions of hybrid, transnational identities for Maori and Pacific Island migrants to Australia', Australian Sociological Association (TASA) Conference: Local Lives/Global Networks, Newcastle, NSW (2011) [E3]
2011Rodriguez LL, 'Contested aetiologies of obesity and related illness in the Maori/Pacific Islander migrant population in Australia', Australian Sociological Association (TASA) Conference: Local Lives/Global Networks, Newcastle, NSW (2011) [E3]
2009Rodriguez LL, 'Science or bio-piracy? A sociological examination of genetic research into the 'warrior gene' in modern Polynesians', The Future of Sociology, Canberra, ACT (2009) [E1]
2009Rodriguez LL, 'The role of visual arts in the preservation and adaptation of traditional Polynesian cultural practices in Australia', Improving the quality of social life in the Asia/Pacific: a challenge for sociology, Bali, Indonesia (2009) [E1]
2007Rodriguez LL, 'Migration and the hybrid construction of identity for Maori and Pacific Islanders in Australia', Proceedings of the 5th Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, Hawaii (2007) [E1]
2007Rodriguez LL, 'Impact of migration and social disadvantage on Maori and Pacific Islander health in Australia', TASA & SAANZ Joint Conference Proceedings, Auckland (2007) [E1]
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Grants and Funding


Number of grants1
Total funding$15,000

- Indicates that the researcher may be seeking students for this project.

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

2014 (1 grants)

Network for Youth Research Outside the Northern Metropole$15,000
Funding Body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts

Project Team
Professor Pamela Nilan, Doctor Steven Threadgold, Conjoint Professor Andy Furlong, Doctor David Farrugia, Doctor Julia Coffey, Doctor Hedda Askland, Doctor Lena Rodriguez
Strategic Networks GrantInvestigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

Research Supervision

Number of current supervisions1
Total current UoN PhD EFTSL0.4

For supervisions undertaken at an institution other that the University of Newcastle, the institution name is listed below the program name.

Current Supervision

ProgramSupervisor TypeResearch Title
20142018PhD (Sociology & Anthropology)Co-SupervisorPlaces to Go: Witches to See Alternative Counter-Cultural Spiritual Practices among Australian Youth

Dr Lena Rodriguez

Work Phone(02) 4921 5094
PositionSenior Lecturer
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Focus AreaSociology and Anthropology
W314 Behavioural Sciences Bulding,
University Drive
Callaghan NSW 2308