Kimberly Thio | University of Auckland Foundation Kupe Leadership Scholar

Bachelor of Science (Honours) Psychology

Culture, identity, mental health. These areas interest me as migration becomes more commonplace, bringing mix of cultures that causes conflicts. Often, it’s between the host country and migrant, but most times the conflict lies between the migrant and their sense of identity.

Through studying Psychology and Global Studies, and through working in the mental health sector, I’ve realised how identity and culture can be vital to maintaining good mental health. Having been raised in both Indonesia and Aotearoa with ancestry in China, I personally understand how having a multicultural sense of identity can be challenging.

Most mental health models are still very Eurocentric, and a one-size-fits-all approach that does not cater for all cultures. This can exacerbate clients’ mental health, especially when migrating itself is a hefty task. Hence, I want to work towards finding solutions to how countries like Aotearoa can accommodate migrants better.

Sponsor: University of Auckland Foundation

Mentor: Meng Foon, New Zealand's Race Relations Commissioner. Meng served as Mayor of Gisborne from 2001 to 2019. He is one of a handful of people of Chinese descent to have become a mayor in New Zealand. At the time of his departure from the mayoral position he was the only mayor in New Zealand who was fluent in te reo Māori. He is a member of a number of community organisations including the Ngā Taonga a Ngā Tama Toa Trust, the New Zealand Chinese Association, and MY Gold Investments Ltd. He has released a musical number, Tū Mai, which includes various native tracks, he has been chair of Gisborne/Tai Rāwhiti Rugby League, and is a member of New Zealand Rugby League. Mr Foon is responsible for leading the work of the Human Rights Commission in promoting positive race relations.