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)


My research background is in gender, race/ethnicity and diversity, policy studies and health with particular focus on New Zealand's ethnic and migrant communities, and women in the global south. I have previously taught at the University of Waikato, Victoria University of Wellington, and in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Auckland. I have also worked in the New Zealand public sector in research and evaluation. My current roles include Director, Health Promotion at the School of Population Health, and co-Director, Centre for Asian and Ethnic Minority Health Research and Evaluation (CAHRE) at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. 

Research | Current

'Double Jeopardy or Double Advantage? Ethnic Women in New Zealand Politics' (Principal Investigator, Royal Society of New Zealand, Marsden Standard Grant, 2020-2023, $842,000).

'Missing Women: Exploring excess female mortality in ethnic minority communities' (Principal Investigator, Health Research Council Explorer Grant, 2019-2021, $150,000).

WERO - Working to End Racial Oppression (MBIE Endeavour Grant, 2020-2025, Team Member)

'Consumption and Conservation: Health and Wellbeing in India' (Principal Investigator, Faculty Research Development Fund, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, 2018-2020, $30,0000).

'Health Diversity? Urban diversity and the potential of workplace encounters' (Associate Investigator, Faculty Research Development Fund, Faculty of Science, with Francis Collins (PI) and Sandy Lee (PI), 2017-2019, $ 167,000).

Teaching | Current

POPLHLTH733: Concepts and Models in Health Promotion

POPLHLTH734: Strategies in Health Promotion

POPLHLTH 761: Women, Gender and Health

Postgraduate supervision

In Progress

  • Wevita, S. Gender bias in childhood in Asian Communities: a study using GUINZ data (Masters supervisor)
  • Rojas, J. Regulatory systems and the prevention of violence in Latin American Communities (PhD, first supervisor)
  • Singh, N. Intersectionality and health outcomes of Fiji-Indian adolescents (Hons., second supervisor)
  • Anand, M. Smoking among women in LMIC countries: a systematic review of the literature (MPH dissertation)
  • Wong, J. Health Promotion and Community-Led Projects (Master of Health Practice)
  • Guha, P. Indian Tied Middling Migrants in Transnational Gender Spaces (PhD, second supervisor)
  • Sakya, P. Adolescent Sexual Health in Nepal (PhD, Waikato University, advisor)

Completed Thesis and Dissertations: 

  • Howson, M. (2019) Healthism and Young Women. 
  • Perry, H. (2017) Children witnessing violence: an educational intervention for school teachers. 
  • Nandedkar, G. (2017) MDGs and education of young adolescent girls in India (The University of Waikato
  • Kumar, S. (2016)Sexual Violence in Ethnic Communities: Data Issues
  • Rahmanipour, S. (2016) Sexual Violence in Ethnic Communities: Analysis of discourses
  • Lal, R. (2016) Austerity and health outcomes for marginalised communities. 
  • 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
  • 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)




Post-graduate teaching 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

BHSc (Hons) Director, 2017-2018.

Health Promotion (Director).

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.
  • Simon-Kumar, R. (2018). Inclusionary policy and marginalised groups in Aoteaora/New Zealand process, impacts and politics. Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online, 1-15. 10.1080/1177083X.2018.1488750
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/42574
  • Simon-Kumar, R., MacBride-Stewart, S., Baker, S., & Saxena, L. P. (2018). Towards north-south interconnectedness: A critique of gender dualities in sustainable development, the environment and women's health. Gender, Work and Organization, 25 (3), 246-263. 10.1111/gwao.12193
  • Simon-Kumar, R. (2018). Translating Inclusion into Influence in New Zealand: The Conundrum of Engaging Gender Organizations in Public Policy. Journal of Women, Politics and Policy, 39 (2), 151-176. 10.1080/1554477X.2018.1449525
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/42555
  • Simon-Kumar, R. (2017). New restrictions will create migrant hierarchy. https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/08/27/44589/new-restrictions-will-create-migrant-hierarchy. Related URL.
  • Simon-Kumar, R., Kurian, P. A., Young-Silcock, F., & Narasimhan, N. (2017). Mobilising culture against domestic violence in migrant and ethnic communities: practitioner perspectives from Aotearoa/New Zealand. Health and Social Care in the Community, 25 (4), 1387-1395. 10.1111/hsc.12439
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/34249
  • Lowry, A., & Simon-Kumar, R. (2017). The paradoxes of Māori-State inclusion: The case study of the Ōhiwa Harbour Strategy. Political Science, 69 (3), 195-213. 10.1080/00323187.2017.1383855
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/45818
  • MacBride-Stewart, S., & Simon-Kumar, R. (2017). The Janus face of infertility in the global north and south: Reviewing feminist contributions to the debate. In G. Davis, T. Loughran (Eds.) The Palgrave handbook of infertility in history: Approaches, contexts and perspectives (pp. 461-489). London: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/978-1-137-52080-7_24
  • Duong, K., & Simon-Kumar, R. (2017). Dignity and human trafficking policy in Vietnam: Deconstructing gender. In E. Sieh, J. McGregor (Eds.) Human dignity: Establishing worth and seeking solutions (pp. 159-178). London, United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/978-1-137-56005-6_10
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/40418


Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 507 - Bldg 507
Level 1, Room 1152
New Zealand

Web links