2019 Scholars, Writers & Artists

February 
Yvonne Ualesi (Aotearoa)

I am a New Zealand born Pasifika doctoral scholar at The University of Auckland. I am of Samoan, Tokelauan and Fijian descent, married and we have four teenage children. I am a primary trained teacher and also a voluntary youth mentoring programmer in my local community of South Auckland.   Central to my practice in both teaching and youth mentoring, is my faith in God and sense of connectedness and relatedness to my aiga/family and building community connections. I believe that the metaphorical ‘village’ that both raises and mentors a child is made up of a multi-faceted, inter-generational collective of relationships and experts that possess both traditional, indigenous and contemporary cultural knowledge bases.

My project is called Culturally Sustaining and Responsive Youth Mentoring Practice in Aotearoa: Towards a Framework. My aspirations include drawing from the rich knowledge baskets of our ancestors and contributing to the wider education and youth development discourse from a strengths-based lens underpinned by indigenous references and knowledge systems. My interest lies in what youth and their wider aiga/wh?nau/families and community might determine as important to sustaining their cultural identities within the youth mentoring context. 

My PhD research utilizes the Campus Connections Aotearoa youth mentoring programme to explore key elements for culturally sustaining and responsive practice in the youth mentoring context. I have investigated how the cultural adaptation of a multi-level structured therapeutic youth mentoring programme originally developed in the US might/might not engage, acknowledge and validate the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of youth in alternative education with complex needs in Aotearoa. My methodology is underpinned by Pasifika and Kaupapa M?ori theories, knowledge systems and well-established indigenous models of well-being that reflect common but important holistic values. The residency at Vaughan Park will allow me to make sustained progress on editing four studies that include the narratives of both youth and cultural experts, youth themselves including their aiga/wh?nau/families and tutors and observations.

May
Ben Johnson-Frow (Aotearoa)

I am an ordained priest, with 25 years’ experience in ministry and leadership in the Anglican Church spanning local, national and international contexts. 

I have been writing, recording, and arranging music for 30 years, developing other musicians for ministry, and my songs are used in worship in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Europe, America, and the Pacific Islands.

I am currently the Vicar at St John’s in Johnsonville, Wellington, but during a recent sabbatical felt a calling to set aside time to write new songs which led me to apply for the artist in residence scholarship at Vaughan Park

The gift of time and space to pray, read, reflect, and write songs in an inspiring place greatly appeals.  The vision at this stage is to start by setting aside the time for God… and allow creativity to flow.  There is a desire in this sense of call to write songs for worship in community, but it also feels like there is something else bubbling away in my heart for songs that are a vulnerable and personal reflection of life and faith and ministry.

August
Marie Preston (Aotearoa)

I have a story to write. I hope it will be an authentic, readable and accessible memoir and an accompaniment for many people in their professional and personal lives. 

As a Registered Nurse and Midwife and before that, a Plunket Nurse, my working life has been full, varied and people-related.

I am a mother and grandmother and am an active leader in my local church and community. My previous work in the church, in a diversity of roles, has always been undergirded by a strong sense of God’s leading and the support and encouragement of others. 

The focus of my story which I have been working on for some time, will be the encouragement of health, healing and wholeness. The experience and influence of my ancestors have shaped my being and thinking. I have lived for 25 years with the diagnosis and the many challenges of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and melanoma. There are many celebrations and blessings that also need to be shared.

Although each life story is unique, there is much that is universal to us all. Now is the time for me to companion and inspire others in their journeys of life and faith. To be given the opportunity to think, reflect, write and complete my book in the quiet space of Vaughan Park is like a dream come true.

November
Nicola Hoggard-Creegan (Aotearoa)

I am a theologian and graduate from Drew University, New Jersey, USA. I married a fellow graduate student and we taught and lived in North Carolina for 12 years before returning to Aotearoa New Zealand with our two children. I am an active member of All Saints’ Anglican Church, Ponsonby, Auckland, where I am on the vestry, a liturgist and a bell ringer.

I taught theology for 17 years and directed TANSA, (Theology and the Natural Sciences in Aotearoa). I am now co-directing New Zealand Christians in Science (funded for three years by the Templeton Foundation), and am an honorary chaplain at Maclaurin Chapel at The University of Auckland.

I have taken part in many Science and Theology seminars in the UK and USA and in 2012-13, I was a member of the Center for Theological Inquiry, Princeton, USA.

 My research has always involved the multiple interactions between systematic theology and science, especially evolutionary theory. This has taken me into eco-theology and the theology of healing as well as the problem of evil and free will. I published Animal Suffering and the Problem of Evil with Oxford University Press, 2013 and co-edited (with Andrew Shepherd) Creation and Hope: Reflections on Anticipation and Action from Aotearoa, New Zealand in 2018.

I completed my PhD dissertation on free will (and compatibilism) in Jonathan Edwards and Friedrich Schleiermacher in 1990.

I am nearing the completion of a book project on free will and will greatly benefit from a period of quiet and concentration at Vaughan Park to bring this project to its conclusion.