Earlier this year, he completed his thesis and submitted it to the university for assessment and examination – the first candidate from the Cook Islands to do so.
It took another three months for the assessments to be completed by three external examiners, and in August Jonah sat an oral examination in defence of his thesis and passed.
Originally from Papua New Guinea, Jonah worked most of his life with the government of the Cook Islands.
His research is about governance and the New Public Management outcomes in the Cook Islands. He wanted to look at what is behind the new system – whose idea it was, the theories behind this phenomena and where they came from.
Jonah wanted to find out how the people at “grassroots” level of society — the wider village communities felt about the new system and how it affected them. He gave the people of the Cook Islands a voice, and for that was praised by his examiners.
One of Jonah’s goals for his research was to bring to light some of his findings which may help government and policymakers to make informed decisions.
Through his research, he found many people did not know what this new public management system was, even though it had an impact on their lives and on their island communities. He found a discord between the world of academia, donor agencies’ discourse and the views expressed by the people in the island communities.
With his research, he intends to publish articles about his findings to make it available for people to read and understand more about what is happening around them. Jonah hopes that through his research governments in other Pacific Island states would learn from the Cook Islands’ experiences when undertaking public sector reforms.
“It is hard work but it pays off. Because you take your time and you find out more about what you want to know.” - Release