Canterbury University PhD student Ashalyna Noa’s fascination with foreign aid and soft power in the Pacific stems from what she terms “The complexities of my own cultural identity”.
Ashalyna’s great grandfather was one of the first 12 Chinese men to settle in Samoa. Her grandmother is Samoan/German/American, and her grandfather Samoan/Chinese.
That’s just her maternal side. Her paternal grandfather is Samoan/Tongan, born and raised in Papua New Guinea, and her grandmother Samoan/English.
Drawing on her family history, Ashalyna’s Masters research focused on early Chinese entrepreneurship in Samoa and the indentured labour scheme. Her current PhD research has widened to explore New Zealand and Chinese foreign aid in the Pacific.