Dr Rachel Simon-Kumar

PhD (Waikato, NZ); MPhil. in Applied Economics (JNU, New Delhi, India); M.A. in Psychology (Kerala University, India); B.A. in Psychology (Kerala University)


I have a background in feminist theory, gender, development, policy and migrant communities. I have previously taught at the University of Waikato, Victorial University of Wellington, and in the Arts Faculty at the University of Auckland. I have also worked in the New Zealand public sector in research and evaluation. My current role is as Director, Health Promotion at the School of Population Health. 

Research | Current

Inclusive policy and marginal groups; the politics of collaboration in sexual violence policy; post-neoliberalism; reproductive health policy;  biculturalism and multiculturalism; gender and policymaking; domestic violence and ethnic communities in New Zealand. 

Current work:

  • Infertility and neoliberalism: historical narratives in the global north and global south (with Sara MacBride-Stewart, Cardiff University)
  • State-iwi engagement in resource management in the Eastern Bay of Plenty (with Amanda Lowry)
  • Reproductive Health Policy in India 
  • Women's community groups and inclusion 
  • Heterogeneity and Female-Headed Households (with Kumudika Boyagoda)
  • Culturally-sensitive interventions in domestic violence among ethnic communities (with Priya Kurian, Nirmala Narasimhan, Faith Silcock)
  • Desirable Citizens in National's Policies (with Graeme McKenzie and Priya Kurian)

Teaching | Current

POPLHLTH733: Concepts and Models in Health Promotion

POPLHLTH734: Strategies in Health Promotion

Postgraduate supervision

​Dissertations in Progress:

  • Kumar, S. Sexual Violence in Ethnic Communities: Data Issues
  • Rahmanipour, S. Sexual Violence in Ethnic Communities: Analysis of discourses
  • Lal, R. Austerity and health outcomes for marginalised communities. 

Completed Thesis and Dissertations: 

  • Hicks, K. (2015) Health promotion competencies.
  • Tamanam, J (2015) Health seeking behaviours in the South Asian community.
  • Brailsford, R. (2015, second supervisor) The concept of autonomy in health promotion.
  • Okuyama, L. (2014, second supervisor) Resilience and Migrants in New Zealand: Psychological Aspects
  • Fraser, R. (2012) Representation of Migrants and Refugees by NGOs in Aotearoa/New Zealand 
  • Lowry, A. (2012) Deliberative Democracy and Maori Inclusion in policy
  • Kagl, R. (2012) Reproductive Health and Male Involvement in Papua New Guinea

PhD in Progress

  • Nandedkar, G. MDGs and education of young adolescent girls in India (The University of Waikato)
  • Guha, P. Indian Tied Middling Migrants in Transnational Gender Spaces (second supervisor)

PhD Completed

  • Njagi, W. (2012) Abortion in Kenya: An analysis of discourses
  • Boyagoda, K. (2013) Heterogeneity and Female-Headed Households in Srilanka 
  • Duong, K. (2014) Human Trafficking in Vietnam: An evaluation of the National Action Programme (VNAP)


Teaching post-graduate courses in Health Promotion; Masters and Doctoral supervision; Research.

Areas of expertise

Gender, ethnicity and multiculturalism, reproductive health, policy, inclusion and marginality, development, migration.

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Co-editor, Women's Studies Journal, 2012-

Member, Research Ethics Committee, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The University of Waikato, 2010-2014.


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Simon-Kumar, R., & Kingfisher, C. (2015). Situated meaning frameworks in ethnic policy communities: Translating ‘engagement’ in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Critical Policy Studies, 9 (2), 177-197. 10.1080/19460171.2014.986493
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/34472
  • Simon-Kumar, R. (2013). Translating inclusion into influence in Aotearoa/New Zealand: The conundrum of engaging gender organisations in public policy.. 26-28 June 2013. p.1-26.. Paper presented at International Conference on Public Policy (ICCP), Grenoble, France. 26 June - 28 June 2013. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/25838