Dr. 'Apo' Aporosa is maternally related to the village of Naduri in Macuata, Fiji. He has a doctorate in Development Studies* from Massey University (New Zealand) and over 20 years experience as a development practitioner in Fiji and New Zealand.
Aporosa currently holds the post of 𝘋𝘶𝘳𝘶𝘷𝘦𝘴𝘪 – 𝘉𝘶𝘭𝘢 𝘯𝘪 𝘗𝘢𝘴𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘬𝘢 (Senior Lecturer in Pacific Health) at Te Huataki Waiora School of Health, University of Waikato in Aotearoa New Zealand. He is a 2022 Fulbright Scholar recipient and has also held a New Zealand Health Research Council Sir Thomas Davis Te Patu Kite Rangi Ariki Fellowship (2019) and New Zealand Health Research Council Pacific post-doctoral award (2016) in which he investigated driver safety following kava use at traditional consumption volumes. (Kava and driving research and resources available under the 'Research\Kava and Driving' tab).
His work is underpinned by the Pacific Post-development Methodological Framework, which combines the Fijian vanua research framework with post-development theory, to guide the ethical and equitable use of Western-developed, -standardised and -normed psychometric measures among Pacific people. This has informed the use of brain function tests to assess kava users relative to productivity and driver safety.
Apo teaches Pacific cultural and health themes, supervises research students, is collaborating on several research projects including with The Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR: Aotearoa New Zealand's Crown Research Institute), and advises the Ministry of Health and Food Standards Board on the safe use of kava in Aotearoa NZ. He is also a senior member of the University's Pacific Strategic Committee.
Apo's Fulbright Scholarship investigated the potential of traditionally influenced kava use spaces to reduce PTSD symptomology among post-combat soldiers and first responders. This led to a one-million-dollar Health Research Council of New Zealand Pacific Project award aimed at validating that Fulbright work in clinical trials. Those trials commence in February 2024 and include a team of seven in Aotearoa and likely additional teams in the USA and UK.
Aporosa is also involved in several development projects in Fiji with Research for Development.
"Dr Aporosa must now be considered the world’s leading researcher on the social use of kava (Piper methysticum) ... His deep knowledge of kava’s properties and usage - along with its health effects, history of cultivation, symbolic significance, economic importance, and changing patterns of consumption - give Dr Aporosa unique expertise. Evidence of the impact of his research has been reflected by the New Zealand Health Research Council’s awarding him the Pasifika Postdoctoral Award for his research on kava drinking and driving in New Zealand.
(Associate Professor Matt Tomlinson, Australia National University, Sept. 2021)
* Development Studies is an inter-disciplinary field involving demographics, environmental issues, culture, social transformation, politics, economics,
policy analysis and formulation, health, anthropology, etc.