The Health Research Council has awarded Hāpai te Hauora a Ngā Kanohi Kitea Full Project Grant to explore whānau Māori experiences with an FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) diagnosis.

The evidence shows that Māori experience disproportionate levels of alcohol related harm. Unfortunately there is very little research which has looked at the experiences of whānau Māori who require support and care for alcohol related health problems, including FASD.

The project will be working nationwide over the next 18 months across communities most affected by FASD to ascertain what is and isn’t working for those most in need for support and care and how whānau conceptualise solutions moving forward.

This is the first funding of its kind that Hāpai has received and their Research & Evaluation team will be leading the project with guidance from Dr Anneka Anderson (National Hauora Coalition), Keriata Stuart and Dr Andi Crawford. Hāpai Māori Public Health Researcher, Lizzie Strickett, states that "it is fundamentally important that we understand the experiences of our whānau with FASD, and it is even more important that this understanding is contextualised against the backdrop of the lived experiences and expertise."

Dr Nicki Jackson, Director of Alcohol Healthwatch, is a senior advisor on the project and believes the grant came at an opportune time during September’s FASD Awareness Month, when families, communities, and the health sector cast a spotlight on how we can improve outcomes for our pepī and tamariki. "With this funding, we can now start to address the huge research gaps in understanding the impact of FASD."

Hāpai CEO, Selah Hart, shared her excitement about what this project could mean for whānau:"It’s an incredible honour to receive this award. My hope is that our findings will inform and improve policy by prioritising the narrative of community voice who have been somewhat silent partners in the conversation of their lived experienced with alcohol".