University researchers receive over half a million dollars to advance equitable health outcomes for Māori and Pacific peoples

Read about the funding received from The Health Research Council (HRC).

21 Nov 2023

The Health Research Council (HRC) has awarded $512,000 to University of Waikato researchers for five projects that aim to bolster health outcomes for Māori and Pacific peoples. The five successful projects focus on solutions-based research, building on the knowledge and expertise of Māori and Pacific communities.

Dr Nikki Barrett

Tino rangatiratanga through kaupapa Māori pregnancy and parenting solutions

Dr Nikki Barrett (Ngāti Hauā, Ngāti Porou) has been awarded the Māori Health Research Erihapeti Rehu-Murchie Postdoctoral Fellowship worth $391,877 to enhance the wellbeing of Māori mothers and babies. She’ll undertake the fellowship with Te Ngira: Institute for Population Research at the University of Waikato, working alongside Māori community provider Kirikiriroa Family Start Trust.

“As a Māori māmā who has experienced both ends of the health spectrum, as a service user and health professional, I have a responsibility to my people to ensure my research will have a meaningful impact and contribute to improved health gains for our whānau,” says Dr Barrett.

Dr Barrett’s study builds on her prior research on Indigenous birthing knowledge and antenatal care. Her new study will centre on kaupapa Māori pregnancy and parenting initiatives to understand mechanisms and measures for success, and to provide meaningful and transformational change for Māori māmā hapū (pregnant women) and whānau.

Professor Lisette Burrows and Dr Polly Atatoa Carr will supervise Dr Barrett.

Mana wāhine perspectives for waka ama and hauora

Kay Berryman

Kay Berryman (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Āpakura, Waikato, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngai Tahu) has been awarded a Māori Health Research PhD Scholarship worth $123,600.

Her PhD study through the University will explore Māori women and Indigenous women's perceptions and experiences of mātauranga in the context of waka ama and its impact on their hauora (holistic wellbeing).

“My doctoral research will incorporate my hauora experience, gained through my own journey of waka ama. The PhD scholarship will enable me to dedicate myself fully to advancing health outcomes of wahine Māori and tamariki,” explains Ms Berryman.

The kaupapa Māori and mana wāhine-led research will identify opportunities for integrating and enriching mātauranga Māori and Indigenous knowledge within the context of waka ama to promote the revitalisation and relevance of traditional knowledge systems.

Ms Berryman hopes that the research will help highlight the central role of women within Māori communities.

Dr Sophie NockDr Waikaremoana Waitoki and Dr Donna Campbell will supervise Ms Berryman’s research.

Three Health Career Development awards for School of Health researchers

The HRC funding round also recognised three Te Huataki Waiora School of Health researchers.

Dr Apo Aporosa and Dr Sione Vaka have each received a $5,000 Pacific Health Research Knowledge Translation Grant. The grants are specific to building Pacific health knowledge, research, and capacity to enable Pacific-led research in partnership with Pacific communities.

Dr Aporosa will lead a project on enhancing health outcomes by educating healthcare workers on Pacific spirituality. Dr Vaka’s project explores Talanoa and ūloa in mental health.

Dr Gloria Clarke (Te Arawa, Rangitaane ki Wairarapa) secured a $4,269 Māori Health Research Knowledge Translation Grant for her research entitled ‘Knowledge translation: from thesis to community.’

This award is for work that contributes to building the Māori health research workforce to ensure New Zealand has the capacity to address unique Indigenous health issues.

Dr Gloria Clarke and Dr Sione Vaka

This research aligns with the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

Good Health and Well-being Reduced Inequalities

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