Current Research

Accident Compensation Corporation - Synapsys Foetal Heart Monitoring Education Package

Research status: Active

Research Lead(s):  Maria Ngawati

Partnering with: Māori and Pasifika women/whānau who have lived experience with FHM, relevant health professionals, Synapsys NZ, ACC Reference Group, FHM Working Group, Human Factors Training Group, healthLearn, Ko Awatea

Purpose: To assist ACC in the co-design and development of a sustainable, interdisciplinary, nationwide Foetal Heart Monitoring (FHM) education programme to help reduce the number and severity of Neonatal Encephalopathy (NE) cases in New Zealand.  

Deliverables include providing content/ideas that form the basis of the pūrākau to ensure FHM is delivered in a way that is culturally appropriate, relevant and safe for Mothers.  Also providing guidance and input into design of the pūrākau animation development so the experience is appropriate and effective for Māori and Pasifika health professionals. 

Auckland DHB - Flu Lab ECE / SHIVERS Respiratory Research

Research status: Active

Research Lead(s):  Maria Ngawati, Cinnamon Lindsay Latimer

Partnering with: Māori parents/legal caregivers and whānau of children under 5 years old attending Early Childhood Education Centres (ECEC) in South Auckland, The Immunisation Advisory Centre, University of Auckland Medical & Health Sciences, Kidz First Hospital, Moana Research, Environmental Science & Research

Purpose: To understand how parents/legal caregivers of children attending ECECs keep their children well, how they recover from ‘cold-like’ illnesses, the impact on their whānau and, of being in hospital. This study will also contribute to our understanding of the effects of respiratory infections and emerging viral patterns in preschool children with Acute Respiratory Illness (ARI) in South Auckland.

Auckland DHB - Healthy Lung Study

Research status: Active

Research Lead(s):  Maria Ngawati

Partnering with: Māori parents/legal caregivers and whānau of children previously involved in ‘The Healthy Lungs Study’ (between 2010-2014) within the Counties Manukau Health region, Kidz First Hospital, the Departments of Paediatrics and Population Health, University of Auckland Medical & Health Sciences, Moana Research, Ko Awatea, the Bronchiectasis Foundation

Purpose: To identify health service support that is accessible and acceptable for whānau of children at high risk of developing chronic lung disease and to co-design a future community programme with whānau to further assess children after hospital discharge, using the lived experiences of affected children and their whānau now that the children are 10-12 years old.  This research will help increase engagement and be a better fit for the affected community resulting in early detection of ongoing morbidity.

Hāpai Te Hauora - Pā Ora Making Connections

Research status: Active

Research Lead(s):  Maria Ngawati

Partnering with: Te Putea Whakatupu Trust, Atamai Digital

Purpose: To promote and distribute real-time information/community kōrero regarding COVID-19 vaccination services and testing sites within Tāmaki Makaurau using the īHONO platform, with the intent of sharing the finished tool with all Iwi and Hauora providers.  

Deliverables include dissemination of information about vaccination sites, testing sites, mobile vaccination clinics/buses and Locations of Interest using īHONO in a way that whānau understand and Iwi and Hauora providers can feed into.  Sharing of vaccination heat maps, developed down to suburb and SA2 mesh block level (i.e. 240 dwellings), which will enable Hauora providers to effectively plan where they need to move their mobile clinics and buses to.  The tool will provide whānau with email or mobile phone alerts for new Locations of Interest near them.

Health Research Council - Cancer Equity / Te Pae Ora - Whanau Ora Navigation in Local Delivery of Oncology Care

Research status: Active

Research Lead(s):  Maria Ngawati, Elizabeth Strickett

Partnering with: ADHB Oncology Services, Northland DHB, Jim Carney Cancer Centre, Turuki Healthcare, the University of Auckland Faculties of Medical & Health Sciences and Health Systems

Purpose: To explore shifting delivery of Oncology services into Māori community settings where Whānau Ora navigation is provided and to ensure care of whānau experiencing cancer is delivered in a way that is conducive to Whānau Ora care, using Whānau Ora Paearahi.

Deliverables include addressing both the cultural and access barriers many Māori whānau face in navigating cancer care, focusing on achieving health equity by delivering and evaluating cancer services in a space, place and way that meets the unique requirements of Māori.  Considering how systems change could be achieved through the partnership of clinical services and community to positively impact the cancer journey for Māori with integrated and Māori- centred services and draws a circle of accountability that elevates kaumātua.

Health Research Council - Exploring Lived Experiences of Whānau Māori with a FASD Diagnosis

Research status: Active

Research Lead(s):  Elizabeth Strickett

Partnering with: Māori whānau with a diagnosis or on a pathway to FASD from the Te Tai Tokerau and Tāmaki Makaurau regions, Ngā Kanohi Kitea

Purpose: To investigate the lived experience of Māori whānau with a diagnosis of, or on a pathway to Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).  

Deliverables include contributing to a gap in knowledge concerning whānau access to FASD-informed diagnosis; access to FASD-informed support pre- and post-diagnosis across health, education, justice and social services; community attitudes experienced pre- and/or post-diagnosis and understanding how useful/or not this diagnosis/assessment is and identification of what type of supports would be most/least useful.

Health Research Council - Whakahā o Te Pā Harakeke

Research status: Active

Research Lead(s):  Elizabeth Strickett

Partnering with: Kokiri Marae whānau, University of Otago Departments of Public Health and Preventive & Social Medicine, Environmental Science & Research, University of Canterbury School of Language, Social & Political Sciences

Purpose: To develop and improve evidence designed to close smoking disparities, particularly for Māori and Pasifika, enhance how tobacco control evidence is used in decision making and accelerate progress towards a Smokefree Aotearoa with the collaborative Whakahā o Te Pā Harakeke Programme. This will involve drawing on community knowledge, building research capacity and creating unique opportunities to engage across the stakeholder spectrum.

Deliverables include population-level analyses of existing and potential interventions with in-depth enquiries that probe how reducing tobacco’s appeal, affordability and accessibility has impacted communities and whānau.  Evaluating knowledge translation routes, considering barriers and enablers within these, and identifying how evidence can more effectively accelerate reductions in smoking prevalence will assist in reducing entrenched disparities.

Health Research Council - Designing Roll-Your-Own Tobacco Pouch Smokefree Messaging

Research status: Active

Research Lead(s):  Elizabeth Strickett

Partnering with: Māori whānau users of Roll-Your-Own (RYO) tobacco, University of Otago Departments of Public Health and Marketing, Best Worst Company, University of Technology Sydney

Purpose: To learn about whānau experiences from smoking RYO tobacco, and the packaging designs and messages that whānau think might help people successfully stop smoking.  This research will be used to improve the social, spiritual, physical, and financial lives of people who smoke and their whānau via informed smokefree messaging.

The Immunisation Advisory Centre - Te Hunga Mānenei / Vaccine Barriers Assessment Tool

Research status: Active

Research Lead(s): Maxine Ducker, Maria Ngawati

Partnering with: Māori parents/legal guardians of children due for vaccinations in the Te Tai Tokerau and Counties Manukau regions, Northland and Counties Manukau DHBs, Primary Health Organisations including Māori Hauora providers 

Purpose: To develop, test and implement a survey tool to measure attitudes and barriers to tamarikitanga vaccination.  The research involves two linked international studies – the first involves refining and categorising the VBAT item set and undertaking test-retest reliability assessments and the second involves confirming final VBAT domains and examining vaccination behaviour prediction.

The Immunisation Advisory Centre - Research Advisory Input

Research status: Active

Research Lead(s):  Maria Ngawati

Partnering with: University of Auckland Health & Medical Sciences, IMAC Research Group

Purpose: To provide a Māori perspective and input within IMAC’s monthly Research Group meetings on existing research; work in partnership with the IMAC Research Group to identify gaps in research; engage in co-design of research projects, submit research bids/grant submissions and collaborate with the delivery of research projects; and provide advice to the Flu Lab Research Programme regarding current and future plans for research.

Litmus - Whole-of-System FASD Approach

Research status: Active

Research Lead(s):  Tiara Wilson

Partnering with: Māori whānau with babies and children/older children and teenagers from the Hawkes Bay and Hutt Valley DHB regions, Hawkes Bay and Hutt Valley DHBs, the Universities of Auckland and Otago, FASD-CAN

Purpose: To identify what an effective system-wide approach to responding to FASD and neurodevelopment disorders would look like, informing Actions 9 and 33 of the FASD Action Plan 2016.  The Plan seeks to create a more effective, equitable and collaborative approach to FASD by prioritising prevention, early identification, support and evidence.

Deliverables include describing/understanding the current whole-of-system response to individuals with FASD or suspected FASD and their whānau.  The research will also identify tensions and opportunities for system improvement and contribute to people with FASD getting support that meets their needs, ensuring better outcomes across a number of areas (e.g. physical and mental health, education, welfare).

Marsden Fund - Can a leopard change its spots? Exploring Big Tobacco as a Proponent of Smokefree Goals

Research status: Active

Research Lead(s): Leitu Tufuga

Partnering with: University of Otago Department of Preventive & Social Medicine

Purpose: To examine whether and how the Tobacco Industry (TI) and its allies have influenced policymaking for vaping products in New Zealand. The recent release of the Government’s Proposals for a Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan offers an additional and unique opportunity to examine tobacco companies’ responses to New Zealand’s proposed tobacco endgame and explore inconsistencies in their arguments, by comparing responses to their earlier rhetoric, at least some of which proclaims support for smokefree goals.

Deliverables include development of a detailed Case Study of Tobacco Industry transformation and political influence in New Zealand by examining whether and how industry rhetoric permeates stakeholders' discourse and extends conceptual frameworks of corporate power.

Ministry of Health - Development of Aotearoa NZ Diagnostic Guidelines for FASD

Research status: Active

Research Lead(s): Dr Sarah Goldbury, Dr Andi Crawford, Tania Wilson, Jo Van Wyk

Partnering with: Māori whānau/iwi/hapū, the Ministries of Health, Education, Justice, Disabled People, Social Development, Oranga Tamariki, Alcohol Healthwatch, relevant Health Practitioners and their professional bodies, FASD-CAN

Purpose: To develop Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) diagnostic guidelines for Aotearoa New Zealand. The project team aspires to enable clinicians in Aotearoa New Zealand to understand how to follow best practice in FASD assessment and diagnosis from the latest international research, embedded within the cultural and health context of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Ministry of Health - Well Child Tamariki Ora Collective (WCTO)

Research status: Completed

Research Lead(s): Tiana Matiu

Partnering with: Māori and Pacific regional WCTO providers across Aotearoa NZ

Purpose:  To coordinate and mobilise the Māori and Pacific WCTO regional sectors to come together collectively to take part in discussions that contribute to the design and formation of a ‘Tamariki Ora Collective’, learning from WCTO providers’ experience and insights as demand for the services provided by Māori and Pacific Tamariki Ora providers continues to grow.

Deliverables include coordinating regional wananga to increase sector connectivity, providing support to service providers, making key connections with the Ministry of Health WCTO team, enabling WCTO providers to have equitable opportunity to collectively influence system-wide change (e.g. input into allocation of resources) and support the ongoing development and transformation of the WCTO programme.

Ministry of Health - Māori Provider Development Scheme PH Research Agenda

Research status: Active

Partnering with: Māori Hauora providers, Māori Health researchers

Research Lead(s):  Maria Ngawati

Purpose: To further develop/strengthen current Māori Data Sovereignty (MDS) strategy and protocols as MDS is essential when conducting Māori health research, to ensure the safety and protection of the participants’ data is gathered and stored safely in a manner that protects participants and their cultural needs. Having robust data sovereignty principles may enable our communities to feel more confident around the storage, use of their mātauranga and help to increase engagement in research.

Deliverables include the formulation of clear position statements on data collection and data autonomy that will inform our position (i.e. clarifying/feeding into our broader strategic plan, safeguarding our mission to progress Māori health agendas), to be shared with other Māori health organisations.  Also, creation of robust, well- designed data sovereignty policies based on Māori data protection and safeguarding/Māori involvement in data repositories governance, and a means to support the establishment of Māori data infrastructure, that become widely known and consistently help drive day-to-day data collection and analysis at all levels of the organisation.

Moana Research - Māori and Pacific Child Health Respiratory Research

Research status: Completed

Partnering with: Māori whānau from Te Tai Tokerau and Tāmaki Makaurau regions, Cure Kids, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and the Child Respiratory Health Research Initiative Advisory Committee

Research Lead(s):  Maria Ngawati, Nari Faiers, Janell Dymus

Purpose:  To understand the aspirations of Māori and Pacific communities for respiratory health and to identify opportunities for innovation and potential intervention points, with an emphasis on identifying what research is needed to achieve respiratory health equity for Māori and Pacific communities.

Deliverables include collation of findings from a systematic review, whānau and key informant interviews into a report that will highlight any ongoing concerns and challenges to achieving respiratory health equity for Māori and Pacific children and inform the development of a coordinated programme to improve respiratory health in New Zealand.

National Institute of Health Innovation – Hui to Establish Strategic Research Priorities for FASD in Aotearoa

Research status: Completed

Research Lead(s):  Janell Dymus

Partnering with: Whānau/Practitioners/Researchers/Decisionmakers involved in FASD, University of Auckland, FASD-CAN

Purpose: To identify strategic research priorities for FASD in New Zealand, recognising that there are multiple entry points for addressing the complexities of FASD, and drawing on collective strengths in research, Kaupapa Māori advocacy and service delivery.  By mobilising/coordinating a wide range of stakeholders, whānau, advocates, health, social and education service representatives for hui and workshops, we aim to produce a coherent, multidisciplinary and Kaupapa Māori-driven research agenda as part of a FASD roadmap for the next 5-10 years.

Northern Regional Alliance Child Developmental Services - Engaging with Pasifika Aiga/Kainga and Māori Whānau

Research status: Active

Research Lead(s):  Gabrielle Baker

Partnering with: Māori whanau from the Te Tai Tokerau and Tāmaki Makaurau regions, Moana Research, Northern region CDS Advisory Group, Waitemata DHB Child Developmental Services

Purpose: To engage and draw on whānau/aiga/family lived experiences to improve equity and quality through development of a whānau centred/focused service delivery model, which meets the needs and priorities of the NRA’s diverse service users, reflecting what matters most to families.  Factors to draw on include their entry to service experience, any barriers or difficulties they experienced, best ways to establish initial relationships and build trust between families and services, and key principles of successful partnership working for whānau/aiga.

Deliverables include ensuring Māori models of care are understood and incorporated in service delivery and the CDS entry conversations accurately identify the needs, priorities and aspirations of whānau Māori so these can be reflected in whānau-led care planning and service delivery.  

Te Hiringa Hauora / Health Promotion Agency - COVID Mapping

Research status: Completed

Research Lead(s):  Maria Ngawati

Partnering with: Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust, Atamai Digital

Purpose: To develop online content of kaupapa Māori messaging on vaccination, as well as digital mapping (i.e. developed in conjunction with iwi) of Māori households who are vaccinated.  This will include messaging that meets the needs of rangatahi that may not be accessing COVID-19 information through the standard channels (e.g. Daily COVID-19 press briefings, etc).

Deliverables include creation of digital assets that could provide insights to inform larger health campaigns for Māori, development of COVID-19 vaccination tools/resources, enhancement of Iwi strategic partnerships in health campaigns for Māori, greater Iwi partnership in vaccination and COVID-19 messaging, and an increased knowledge of vaccination and COVID-19 information for those who have accessed the digital assets.

University of Otago - Aotearoa NZ Variome Project

Research status: Active

Research Lead:  Cinnamon Lindsay Latimer

Partnering with: Māori whānau from Te Ao Māori, University of Otago Department of Mathematics & Statistics, University of Otago Dunedin School of Medicine Department of Women’s & Children’s Health, Genomics Aotearoa / Aotearoa New Zealand Variome Leadership Rōpu

Purpose:  To assemble a collection of genetic variations present in the genome (genetic code) of people with Māori ancestry, which will generate a variome dataset for Māori, reflecting their unique whakapapa and heritage.  Understanding these patterns of variation will help researchers understand genetic factors that are contributing to the health of Māori, and help make genetic tests more accurate. Having a variome for Māori will mean that genetic tests can be developed that are specific for Māori. It will also support research that Māori decide is a priority for them, improve healthcare options for Māori, and ultimately save lives.