During a degree in Classical Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, I became interested in processes such as the transition of complex chiefdoms to archaic states. While on a field trip in Greece, I realised that my Pacific home offers exciting opportunities to understand questions of hierarchy in a far less examined, and acknowledged, setting. Consequently, I completed a BA (Hons) and MA in Anthropology (Archaeology) at the University of Otago, specialising in Oceanic prehistory, working across Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia. In my MA thesis, under Professor Mark D. McCoy, I geochemically sourced the monumental architecture of Nan Madol, a prehistoric hub on the island Pohnpei, in Micronesia. I used the data to examine how the paramount chief’s geographic reach and ability to control labour changed over time. Micronesia has some of the largest monumental landscapes in Oceania, yet is the most understudied Pacific region. My PhD at Cambridge, under Dr Elizabeth DeMarrais, will also focus on Micronesia. I will examine how traditional materialised ideology, such as symbolic objects, monumental architecture and rituals, transformed in the region post European and Asian contact. I am delighted and honoured to be chosen as a Gates Scholar. My ambition is to work with local communities to make our Oceanic past accessible and engaging to a wide variety of people.