Dr Komathi Kolandai

PhD Mass Communication


Dr Komathi Kolandai-Matchett is a Research Fellow at the Public Policy Institute (PPI) and the Centre of Methods and Policy Application in the Social Sciences (COMPASS). At the PPI, her role includes coordinating research projects and contributing to research delivery and publications. At COMPASS, as principal investigator, she is leading the design and implementation of the 2020 International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) on the Environment and the 2021 ISSP on Health and Health Care Services. She also supports a Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge project – Communicating Risk and Uncertainty to Aid Decision-making – in collaboration with the University of Waikato.

Dr Kolandai-Matchett is a multidisciplinary researcher with over 11 years of post-PhD experiences. She specialises in environmental science communication. Her PhD focused on approaches for improving media coverage of environmental news and environmental message framing strategies. From August 2018 to August 2020, with a post-doctoral fellowship from the George Mason Centre for the Natural Environment, she led the methodological design and implementation of one theoretical and three interdisciplinary empirical studies focused on communicating the complex science behind marine ecosystems to general audiences. Her other research outputs include theology and environmental behaviour, education and training, gambling addiction and public health policies, agricultural sustainability, and fisheries policy and wetlands governance. She is experienced in employing Kaupapa Māori research concepts and incorporating tikanga in research plan, conduct and dissemination. Her diverse research skillset includes quantitative (e.g. randomised controlled experiments, surveys), qualitative (e.g. narrative, case study), and mixed-method designs, and different evaluation models (e.g. logic model, utilisation-focused evaluation, success case method). Her research software capabilities include IBM SPSS Statistics 22, EndNote X9, QSR NVivo (Versions 10 & 11), Qualtrics, and SurveyMonkey.

Her teaching experiences include guest lectures on different topics:

  • 2006/7: University of Canterbury: (1) Media and the environment: Effects on public opinion and policy; (2) Media’s role: Communicating sustainability and environmental issues; (3) Global environmental problems and international environmental treaties
  • 2009: Lincoln University: Barriers to sustainable consumption and the media’s issue raising role
  • 2015/17: Auckland University of Technology: (1) Evaluation methods; (2) Problem gambling: Public health perspectives; (3) Cultural considerations: Gambling, problem gambling, prevention & treatment; (4) Outcomes: Effective indicators for achieving planning goals; (5) Gambling and politics

Her early career positions with international NGOs (World Wide Fund for Nature and Pesticide Action Network) and private tertiary institutions included staff management, lobbying and advocacy, media relations and communications, advertising and marketing, and on-the-ground practical research for informed decision-making.

Research | Current

Gendered effects of policy responses to COVID-19; Climate-change and environmental perceptions; and, COVID-19-related environmental perceptions



2009: PhD Mass Communication (Improving News Media Communication of Sustainability and the Environment), University of Canterbury, NZ       

1999: MSc. Environmental Science (A Spiritual Appeal to Environmental Behaviour), Lund University, Sweden. 

1993: BSc. (Hons.) Fishery Science, University of Agriculture, Malaysia.         

1990: Diploma in Fisheries, University of Agriculture, Malaysia.

Awards and Scholarships

2018: George Mason Centre for the Natural Environment Post-doctoral Fellowship

2007: Doctoral Research Award (BRCSS Network, NZ)

2004: Doctoral Scholarship Award (University of Canterbury, NZ)

2004: Fellowship Award for Environmental Studies (BFSD, Germany)

2002: Spirit of the Land Award, Salt Lake City

1998: The Swedish Malaysian Scholarship Award

1998: NZODA Post Graduate Scholarship (declined)


  • Designing and implementing experimental studies to test the effects of communication modalities and message frames.
  • Publications and research dissemination (presentations, workshops, guest lectures).

Areas of expertise

  • Environmental communication
  • Media studies
  • Evaluation methodologies

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Kolandai-Matchett, K., & Armoudian, M. (2020). Message framing strategies for effective marine conservation communication. AQUATIC CONSERVATION-MARINE AND FRESHWATER ECOSYSTEMS10.1002/aqc.3349
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/51676
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Maria Armoudian
  • Rawat, V., Browne, M., Bellringer, M., Greer, N., Kolandai-Matchett, K., Rockloff, M., ... Abbott, M. (2018). A tale of two countries: comparing disability weights for gambling problems in New Zealand and Australia. Quality of life research : an international journal of quality of life aspects of treatment, care and rehabilitation, 27 (9), 2361-2371. 10.1007/s11136-018-1882-8
  • Kolandai-Matchett, K., Bellringer, M., Landon, J., & Abbott, M. (2018). A process evaluation of the 'Aware' and 'Supportive Communities' gambling harm-minimisation programmes in New Zealand. European journal of public health, 28 (2), 369-376. 10.1093/eurpub/ckx120
  • Kolandai-Matchett, K., Landon, J., Bellringer, M., & Abbott, M. (2018). A national public health programme on gambling policy development in New Zealand: insights from a process evaluation. Harm reduction journal, 15 (1)10.1186/s12954-018-0217-y
  • Abbott, M., Bellringer, M., Garrett, N., & Kolandai-Matchett, K. (2017). Design and Methods of the New Zealand National Gambling Study, a Prospective Cohort Study of Gambling and Health: 2012–2019. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 15 (6), 1242-1269. 10.1007/s11469-017-9843-y
  • Bellringer, M., Kolandai-Matchett, K., Taylor, S., & Abbott, M. (2017). Pacific Islands Families Study 2014: Mother and youth gambling report. , Final Report Auckland: Auckland University of Technology, Gambling and Addictions Research Centre. Related URL.
  • Kolandai-Matchett, K., Langham, E., Bellringer, M., & Siitia, P. A.-H. (2017). How gambling harms experienced by Pacific people in New Zealand amplify when they are culture-related. Asian journal of gambling issues and public health, 7 (1)10.1186/s40405-017-0026-3
  • Kolandai-Matchett, K., Landon, J., Bellringer, M., Garrett, N., Mundy-McPherson, S., Abbott, M., ... Cumming, S. (2015). Evaluation and clinical audit of problem gambling intervention and public health services. , Final Report Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/45347

Contact details

Primary office location

BAYREUTH - Bldg 220
Level G, Room G01
New Zealand