Natasha Tassell-Matamua, Ph.D.

Natasha Tassell-Matamua, PhD, is the Director of the Center for Indigenous Psychologies and Associate Professor at the School of Psychology, Massey University, New Zealand.  She has lived in a variety of countries and cultures, including the Cook Islands, Singapore, Curacao, and Guernsey.  These experiences provide a useful foundation for reflecting on cultural diversity and its influences. She has a personal interest in Buddhism, having informally studied it as a way of being for more than 25 years. More recently, she has become interested in psychedelics as transformative experiences.  She enjoys gardening, hiking, growing mushrooms, and being out in the natural environment. She is of Indigenous Māori, Cook Islands Māori, and Pākehā (NZ European) descent; an ancestry that colors her experience of the world in varied ways.

She began studying near-death experiences (NDEs) in 2010 after completing her PhD. Since then, she has extended her research to encompass other non-ordinary experiences of consciousness, most recently including end-of-life experiences (ELEs) and terminal lucidity (TL). She also incorporates Indigenous knowledge into much of her work, particularly regarding methods and methodologies. Her research now focuses mainly on the interface between non-ordinary experiences of consciousness, spirituality, and Indigenous psychologies. To a lesser extent, her research also explores how these topics relate to ecopsychology. She is interested in extending her research of non-ordinary states to incorporate psychedelic-facilitated experiences and how these may be similar to or differ from near-death experiences in phenomenology and aftereffects.

In 2023 she became an Associate Editor of EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing.

Awards and recognition:

2015  New Zealand Psychological Society’s GV Goddard Early Career Award – Excellence in Research and Scholarship

2015  Massey University Early Career Medal for Research Excellence

2015  Massey University College of Humanities and Social Sciences Early Career Research Excellence Award

2015  Fulbright-Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Travel Award in Indigenous Development

2011  Massey University Women’s Award

2010 Te Amorangi National Māori Academic Excellence Award

Grants and funding:

2024-2027       Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Grant [PI]

2023-25           Bial Foundation funding on 2x projects as PI and AI respectively

2020–22          Biological Heritage National Science Challenge, Ngā Rākau Taketake, Mobilizing for Action [PI]

2020                Health Research Council of New Zealand COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant [NI]

2019–21           Health Research Council of New Zealand Explorer Grant [PI]

2018–19           Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Scoping Grant [PI]

2015                 Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Conference Grant

2014                Massey University Emerging Researcher Grant

2011-16             Massey University Research Grant [PI]

Selected Refereed Journal Articles:

Tassell-Matamua, N. A., Lindsay, N., & Winterbottom, J. (in press). Why near-death experiences (NDEs) matter to psychology: An exploration of psychologists’ knowledge of NDEs and implications for professional practice. Journal of Near-Death Studies.

Lindsay, N., O’Sullivan, L., Gibson, R., Ladyman, C., & Tassell-Matamua, N. (2023). Near-death experiences and sleep disturbance: An exploratory study using wrist actigraphy. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 211(11), 856-861. https://doi.10.1097/NMD.0000000000001710

Roehrs, P., Fenwick, P.,  Greyson, B., Kellehear, A., Kothe, K., Nahm, M., Roe, C., Tassell-Matamua, N., & Woollacott, M. (2023). Terminal lucidity in a pediatric oncology clinic. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. Online ahead of print.

Tassell-Matamua, N., MacDonald-Nepe Apatu, K., Moriarty, T.R. & Tahuri, T. (2023). Indigenous Māori notions of consciousness, soul and spirit. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 30(5-6), 151-165.

Woollacott, M., Shumway-Cook, A., & Tassell-Matamua, N. (2023). Worldviews and environmental ethics: Contributions of brain processing networks. EXPLORE, 19(5), 630-635.

Apiti, A., Tassell-Matamua, N., & Moriarty, T. R. (2023). He taonga kē ngā kaumātua: Kaumātua perspectives of te taiao, ngahere and taonga species. Knowledge Cultures, 11(1), 19-33.

Erueti, B., Tassell-Matamua, N., Pomare, P., Masters-Awatere, B., Dell, K., Te Rangi, M., & Lindsay, N. (2023). ‘Pūrākau o te ngahere’: Indigenous Māori interpretations, expressions and connection to taonga species and biosecurity issues. Knowledge Cultures, 1, 34-54.

Pomare, P., Tassell-Matamua, N., Lindsay, N., Masters-Awatere, B., Dell, K., Erueti, B.,  & Te Rangi, M. (2023). Te mauri o te kauri me te ngahere: Indigenous knowledge, te taiao (the environment), and well-being. Knowledge Cultures, 1, 55-83.

Matamua, N., Moriarty, T.R., & Tassell-Matamua, N. (2023). Mai i te pū ki te wānanga. Interpreting synchronistic meaning through a wānanga methodology. Knowledge Cultures, 1, 84-97

Tassell-Matamua, N., Boasa-Dean, T., & McEntee, M. (2023). Indigenous knowledge revitalization: Indigenous gardening and its wider implications for the people of Tūhoe. Knowledge Cultures, 1, 98-114.

Apiti, A., Tassell-Matamua, N., Lindsay, N., Dell, K., Pomare, P., Erueti, B., Masters-Awatere, B., & Te Rangi, M. (2022). Indigenous Māori of Aotearoa (New Zealand): Environmental identity, rather than Māori identity per se, has greatest influence on environmental distress. Ecopsychology, ahead of print.

Dell, K., Komene, T. M., Tassell-Matamua, N., Pomare, P., & Masters-Awatere, B. (2022). TE ARA O TE MOA Patua te ngāngara e kai ana i ngā rākau taketake o Aotearoa. MAI Journal, 11(1), 34-39.

Tassell-Matamua, N. (2022). Indigenous knowledge and the nature of consciousness. Paradigm Explorer, 139(2), 11-14.

Lindsay, N., Haami, D., Tassell-Matamua, N. A., Pomare, P., Valentine, H., Pahina, J., Ware, F., & Pidduck, P. (2022).  The spiritual experiences of contemporary Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand: A qualitative analysis. Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health, 24(1), 74-94.

Lindsay, N., Tassell-Matamua, N. A., Haami, D., Ware, F., Valentine, V., & Pomare, P. (2021). Construction of a ‘Beliefs about Exceptional Experiences Scale’ (BEES): Implications of preliminary findings in Aotearoa New Zealand. Journal for the Study of Spirituality, 11(2), 145-158. https://doi.10.1080/20440243.2021.1978136

Lindsay, N., & Tassell-Matamua, N. A. (2020). Subjective sleep quality after a near-death experience. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 38(2), 65-86.

Tassell-Matamua, N. A., Lindsay, N., Bennett, A., & Masters-Awatere, B. (2020). Māori cultural identity is linked to a greater regard for nature: Attitudes and (less so) behaviour. Ecopsychology, 13(1), 9-18.

Tassell-Matamua, N. A., & Lindsay, N. (2020). Impartiality as an obligation in NDE research. Response to near-death experiences: To the edge of the universe. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 27(11-12), 237-243.