The Kaumātua Mana Motuhake Project

Tuakana-teina/peer-support - Kaumātua working with kaumātua

This collaborative research between the University of Waikato and Rauawaawa Kaumātua  Charitable Trust aims to address the mana motuhake/identity-autonomy of kaumātua (older Māori aged 55-plus).

The focus is the health outcomes of a ‘tuakana-teina’ peer-educator model in relation to wellness, social connectedness, life enhancement and life transitions. An orientation programme that introduced life-transition-experienced kaumātua to the role of tuakana/peer educator in the context of peer support was developed. These kaumātua will serve as tuakana for other kaumātua who are teina/peers currently “in-experience” with life transitions.


Prof. Brendan Hokowhitu

Ngāti Pukenga

Prof Hokowhitu is a leader in Māori and Indigenous critical theory, research, and methods. He was co- investigator in Prospective Outcomes of Injury Study, helping establish kaupapa Māori methods in researching. He co-leads research design, execution, dissemination and mentor emerging Māori researchers.


Prof. John G. Oetzel

Prof Oetzel uses community-based participatory research to work collaboratively with communities on various health issues to improve health equity. His work includes the developing interventions with two Māori health organisations related to pre-diabetes (He Pikinga Waiora) and positive aging (Kaumātua Mana Motuhake). He co-leads the project contributing to research design and evaluation. He is committed to collaborative design so that research and interventions fit the context and needs of communities, and are culturally centered.


Rangimahora Reddy

Raukawa, Ngati Maniapoto, Waikato Tainui, Ngati  Rangiwewehi  me  Rangitane

Rangimahora Is an experienced in leading for-kaumātua-by-kaumātua organisation. She brings networks in the health and social services sector serving kaumātua and skills in project management, financial management and business development. She co-leads the project, managing contractual and working relationships with advisory and experts groups.


Dr Mary Simpson

A Senior Lecturer with the Waikato Management School,  with 15  years  health  social-work experience, working primarily with elders and families. She brings expertise in qualitative research, and working with elders, kaumātua, and Te Rauawaawa (research; student volunteers for the Kaumātua Olympics and Kaumātua Idol). She contributes to research design, execution, dissemination, project management.


Dr Sophie Nock

Ngāti Kurī

A senior lecturer in Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao, the Faculty of Māori & Indigenous Studies. Sophie is primarily involved in the teaching and researching of te reo Māori, and has published in this area. Her PhD investigated the teaching and learning of te reo Māori in English-medium, secondary schools in relation, to materials, methodology and teachers’ linguistic and educational backgrounds.


Pare Meha

(Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Roroa

Pare brings experience in project management, research project support, and first-hand experience in whānau/community care of kaumātua. She collaborates with kaumātua, advisory groups and the research team to help carry out the research plan. Pare actively supports kaumātua in their committees, social programmes and events.


Stacey Ruru

Ngāti Haua, Ngāti Raukawa

Stacey is a research officer for the Kaumātua Mana Motuhake poi project and is a research coordinator for Ngā Pae O Te Māramatanga. Before joining, Stacey was a Research Associate at The University of Auckland’s Faculty of Medical and Health Science. Her research interests include, organisational and Indigenous psychology, Māori women leadership and kaupapa Māori.


Kath Holmes

Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Porou

Kath is a registered nurse currently leading kaumātua health initiatives within a community based nurse-led clinic. Kath is passionate about improving equitable health outcomes for Maori through research involvement. She brings more than 20 years of working within the health sector, offers leadership and team management to community groups and provides administrative and research support.

List of publications including journal articles, book chapters, reports and conference papers.

Journal Articles


Hokowhitu, B. (2017). Weaving past, present, and future. Journal of Indigenous wellbeing, Te Mauri- Pimatisiwin, 2(1), 2-3

Hokowhitu, B., Oetzel, J., Reddy, R., Smith, L., Simpson, M., Nock, S., et al. (2017). Kaumatua mana motuhake: Kaumatua managing life-transitions through tuakana-teina/peer education. In The New Zealand Medical Journal: Proceedings of the Waikato Clinical Campus Biannual Research Seminar,130, 108


Oetzel, J. G., Hokowhitu, B., Simpson, M., Reddy, R., Nock, S., Greensill, H., . . . Smith, L. T. (2019). Kaumātua Mana Motuhake: A study protocol for a peer education intervention to help Māori elders work through later-stage life transitions. BMC Geriatrics, 19(1), 11 pages. doi:10.1186/s12877-019-1041-2

Oetzel, J., Hokowhitu, B., Simpson, M., Reddy, R., Cameron, M., Meha, P., . . . Smith, L. (2019). Correlates of health-related quality of life for Māori Elders involved in a peer education intervention. Journal of Health Communication, 24(5), 559-569. doi:10.1080/10810730.2019.1637483


Simpson, M.,  Oetzel, J., Nock., S, Greensill, H., Meha, P., Pare Meha., . . .Hokowhitu, B. (2020).Maori becoming peer educators in later life: Impact on identity, wellbeing and social connectedness, The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, , gbaa078,

Simpson, M. L., Greensill, H. M., Nock, S., Meha, P., Harding, T., Shelford, P., . . . Reddy, R. (2020). Kaumatua mana motuhake in action: Developing a culture-centred peer support programme for managing transitions in later life. Ageing and Society, online, 1-24. doi:10.1017/S0144686X19000370

Oetzel, J.G., Cameron, M.P., Simpson, M.L. et al. Kaumātua Mana Motuhake: peer education intervention to help Māori elders during later-stage life transitions. BMC Geriatr 40, 1822-1845 (2020).

Book Chapters


Oetzel, J.G., Hokowhitu, B., Simpson, M., Nock, S., & Reddy, R. (2020). Addressing life transitions of aging: Integrating Indigenous and communication theory to develop a tuakana-teina/peer educator model. In H. D. O’Hair & M.J. O’Hair (Eds.) Handbook of Applied Communication Research, Vol 1 (pp. 29-45). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Conference Papers


Hokowhitu, B., Simpson, M., & Reddy, R. (2017). Kaumātua mana motuhake: Kaumātua managing life transitions through tuakana-teina/peer education. In Research Impact Conference: Realising the Potential. Conference held at Dunedin, New Zealand. ON

Reddy, R., Nock, S., Simpson, M. (13 October 2017). Kaumātua mana motuhake: Kaumātua managing life-transitions through tuakana-teina/peer-education outcomes of a pilot. AgeWise “In IT together”, Hamilton, New Zealand

Simpson, M., Harding, T., & Shelford, P. (2017). Kaumatua managing life transitions through tuakana-teina/peer-support: An example of integrating student doctoral research with externally funded research. In The HOPE-Selwyn Knowledge Exchange for Research on Ageing.


Nock, S., Simpson, M., Wilson, Y., Reddy, R., Meha, P., & Johnston, K. (2018). Community-University collaboration in kaumatua research: Kaumatua driven approaches. In New Zealand Association of Gerontology Conference. Conference held Auckland, New Zealand.

Oetzel, J., Meha, P., Wilson, Y., Nock, S., & Simpson, M. (2018). Findings, challenges, and lesson learnt from two National Science Challenge research projects: A partnership between Rauawaawa Kaumatua Charitable Trust and the University of Waikato. In National Kaumatua Service Providers Conference. Conference held New Plymouth, New Zealand.

Simpson, M., Greensill, H., Meha, P., Nock, S., Harding, T., Shelford, P., . . . Hokowhitu, B. (2018). Kaumatua mana motuhake: Communicating kaumatua voice and vision in developing a health intervention with kaumatua. In 68th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association. Conference held Prague, Czech Republic. Retrieved from

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