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Latest News

Adjunct Professor announced

Whakauae Director Dr Amohia Boulton


Professor Denise Wilson, of the Auckland University of Technology (AUT), recently announced the appointment of Whakauae Director, Dr Amohia Boulton to the Faculty of Health & Environmental Sciences (and Taupua Waiora) as an Adjunct Professor.

The Faculty currently has several Adjunct Professors who hold positions within other universities or research institutes both in New Zealand and around the world. The role of Adjunct Professor contributes positively to the research climate of the Faculty. 

We are pleased that Amohia’s expertise and experience has been recognised and this forms a basis for us to build closer ties with our academic partners at the Auckland University of Technology.

Amohia will be part of Faculty activities, when she is able, with the Adjunct Professor role providing an opportunity to strengthen relationships between AUT and Whakauae Research for Māori Health and Development.

Whakauae awarded research project funding by HRC

D3: Data, decision-making and development: Using data to improve health outcomes

In July 2017, the Health Research Council awarded a three year research project grant to Whakauae. The D3: Data, decision making and development: using data to improve health outcomes will explore how routinely gathered data can be used to stimulate improvements in health outcomes for Māori.

The research team led by Dr Boulton will partner with three DHB case study sites and use a kaupapa Māori approach to understand the way data is collected, used and interpreted. The facilitators and barriers to using data for service planning will be reviewed. The translational element of the research will include communicating successful strategies to the wider health sector.

Te Principal Investigator on the project, Dr Boulton observed the study has the potential to highlight the processes; resources; skills; and time needed to transform DHB level data into considered decisions and concrete actions that improve hauora Māori. We are especially looking forward to working in partnership with Associate Professor Tim Tenbensel and Honorary Academic Dr Pat Neuwelt both of the University of Auckland.

Whakauae awards 2017 Pae Tawhiti Scholarships

From left: Emma Rawson with Robbie Richardson, Barbara Thomason and Director, Dr Amohia Boulton
at Rātā Marae on 24 June 2017. 


Whakauae Director, Dr Amohia Boulton awarded two Pae Tawhiti scholarships for the 2017 academic year during Ngāti Hauiti’s Hui a Tau held on Saturday 24 June 2017 at Rātā Marae. Whakauae’s Pae Tawhiti scholarship programme provides funding to Māori students, at Masters or PhD level, who have a proven record of academic excellence; demonstrated a commitment to te ao Māori; and are enrolled in a research degree with a focus on Hauora Māori. Doctoral student, Robbie Richardson and Masters student, Barbara Thomason were this year’s recipients of scholarships to support their postgraduate research studies.

Robbie is of Ngāti Hauiti, Ngāti Raukawa and Ngāti Tuwharetoa and has a long history of engagement in health as a rongoā practitioner as well as in fields including Māori health workforce development, public health and mental health. She is closely involved with supporting Ngāti Hauiti’s Tuku Iho Treaty claims work and is also a member of both the Mana Whenua Hauora Iwi Relationship Board at MidCentral DHB and of the Central PHO Board. Robbie this year began doctoral study in Māori Development and Advancement through Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and is currently completing a series of papers prior to beginning her dissertation.

Masters scholarship recipient, Barbara Thomason is also of Ngāti Hauiti. Barbara has been closely involved in iwi affairs, as well as with wider Mokai Patea activities, for many years. A trained nurse, she has spent much of her later career in Rangitīkei primary and secondary schools supporting and teaching Māori students in a range of capacities. Barbara is currently working on her Master’s research examining the intergeneration transmission of knowledge: Ahikāroa.

Both scholarship recipients addressed the iwi during the Hui a Tau acknowledging their awards and providing an outline of their research interests and aspirations. Also present was the 2016 inaugural Pae Tawhiti scholarship recipient, Masters student Emma Rawson. Emma is of Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāti Raukawa. In her address, she described her progress in researching institutional racism in human resource practices in public health units. She acknowledged the advantages that had accrued as an outcome of being awarded the Pae Tawhiti scholarship including new doors being opened in advancing her career as a Māori health researcher supporting improved Māori health outcomes. Emma is completing her Master’s degree at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) through the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences. 

Whakauae extends congratulations to the 2017 scholarship recipients. We look forward to supporting them both in their work contributing towards attaining equity in health outcomes for Māori.

Whakauae Researchers attend Research Ethics Symposium

Associate Professor Martin TolichOn 28 June 2017, University of Otago Associate Professor Martin Tolich facilitated a Research Ethics Symposium at the Auckland AUT South Campus. Martin has played a key role in the recent establishment of the New Zealand Ethics Committee (NZEC). The NZEC provides independent ethics review for projects carried out in New Zealand outside the universities and the health sector.  The purpose of the Research Ethics Symposium was to provide a forum to present and discuss current ethical issues.

The Symposium attracted some 20 delegates, mainly from the Auckland area, including University ethics committee members, local government researchers, a Pasifika health and social services provider, academics and researchers. Whakauae researchers Gill Potaka-Osborne and Lynley Cvitanovic took part in the Symposium. A highlight of the day for them was meeting with members of ethics committees including their research colleague Dr Lesley Batten, Chair of Massey University’s Southern A Human Ethics Committee.

Two invited speakers presented during the Symposium. The first speaker, Dr Gary Allen, a Senior Consultant with the Australasian Human Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS) and senior policy officer at Griffith University (Queensland) explored the ethical challenges that social media presents for researchers. His presentation was entitled:

If research ’only’ involves the analysis of comments/posts/feeds on social media is it human research? Does it require review?

Dr Allen provided concrete examples such as The Ashley Maddison and OK Cupid cases and the ethical challenges they presented. His presentation included discussion around what constitutes valid consent in social media forums particularly as the current generation are more accepting of media parameters. 

The second speaker, Dr Dònal O’Mathùna, is a Senior Lecturer in Ethics, Decision-making & Evidence, School of Nursing and Human Sciences, Dublin City University. His presentation Disaster Ethics: Issues for Researchers and participants focused on research ethics and disasters. His kōrero around vulnerable populations resonated with our own Indigenous research values. He presented a framework which he considered was a benchmark of ethical research:

  1. Collaborative partnership (right from the beginning)
  2. Social value (there must be some benefit)
  3. Scientific validity (study design, feasible, funding available)
  4. Fair subject selection
  5. Favourable risk-benefit ratio (reciprocity benefits)
  6. Informed consent
  7. Respect for participants and communities
  8. Independent review.

Both presentations were relevant for us in our current research environment and continue to help us reflect on ethics in our own research practice.

2017 Māori Public Health Symposium

Māori Public Health Symposium hosts Emma Rawson and Adrian Te Patu look forward to an exciting day of presentations.


On June 19, the Public Health Association of New Zealand held a symposium on Māori Public Health in Auckland.  The theme of the symposium was Māori Public Health: Business - Innovation – Health, and speakers were asked to highlight aspects of innovation in their respective businesses and the links to improving and transforming the lives of Māori. The symposium was designed to invite creative conversation about the solutions designed in public health, embracing business, Māori development and new ways of funding to have more freedom in defining the future of Māori public health.

A diverse line-up of invited speakers presented on the day, from young entrepreneurs in the health sector, to more experienced business people and public health practitioners. Symposium participants were then asked to workshop a series of questions posed by the speakers. Dr Amohia Boulton was also one of the guest speakers. Amohia spoke about the origins of Whakauae Research; what drives us as an iwi-based research centre; how our research, our approach and our utilisation of research has an effect on hauora Māori; and the challenges we face in our work. For the workshop component of the day Amohia asked participants to consider how they, as public health practitioners and policymakers use research in their work creating new opportunities and advances in public health and as they advocate for improvements Maori health outcomes; and how and in what ways can we, as researchers can best support that work. The information that was workshopped on the day will be collated and fed back to the participants and wider Public Health Association Membership.

The symposium attracted some 70 delegates, mainly from the Auckland, area who represented DHBs, Māori health providers, academics and researchers. A highlight of the day for Amohia was the opportunity to catch up with many of the stalwarts of Māori public health who had either organised the event or attended to support and present including Keriata Stuart, Dr Lorna Dyall, Associate Professor Marewa Glover, Megan Tunks, Michelle Mako and Chris Webber; and the opportunity to meet new colleagues Zoe Hawke and Steph Erick of Hāpai Te Hauora.

A copy of the presentation can be found here.


Care and Protection of Māori Children at World Congress

From left to right, Lawyer and Youth Advocate Ophir Cassidy; Lawyer for Child Tania Williams-Blyth; and Research Centre Director, Dr Amohia Boulton at the Congress.


Ms Tania Williams-Blyth and Dr Amohia Boulton have recently returned from the 7th World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights, which was held in Dublin Ireland from the 4th to the 7th of June 2017.  They presented a paper entitled E Tipu, E Rea: The Care and Protection of Māori Children, which was based on the research Tania undertook as part of a Lottery Health Research Grant in 2015.

While in Dublin the two met with, and heard presentations by, a number of New Zealand-based colleagues undertaking research in various aspects of child and family law. Over 600 delegates from around the world took part in the four-day Congress. Highlights for the pair included participating in a pre-conference workshop for PhD students; the calibre of the international keynotes, many of whom spoke about the myriad international conventions and frameworks that support child and family rights; and networking with other researchers and academics involved in issues to do with protection of children from as far afield as Jamaica and Indonesia. After the conference Ms Williams-Blyth was fortunate to meet with members of the Roma and Traveller communities; peoples indigenous to Ireland and Europe.

If you are interested in the presentation that Tania and Amohia gave at the Congress, a copy of the presentation can be found here. The written paper that was provided to the Congress will be submitted to a relevant journal for publication in the near future.


Welcome for Red River Metis postgraduate student

Valdine Flaming (far right) during the pōwhiri at Rātā Marae, Saturday 27 May 2017.


Valdine Flaming of Thompson, Northern Manitoba arrived in Whanganui on 24 May 2017 to begin a three-month postgraduate student placement with Whakauae. A pōwhiri for Valdine was held at Rātā Marae shortly after her arrival in Whanganui.

A member of the Manitoba Metis originating in the Red River, Valdine is completing her Master of Arts degree in Disability Studies through the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. Her student placement is being hosted by Whakauae, in an agreement with the University of Manitoba. Valdine has been awarded a prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship (QES), through a Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) programme, to support her three-month study in New Zealand.

In addition to her postgraduate study, Valdine is Executive Officer and Advisor for Strategic Services and Development at the University College of the North in Thompson, Northern Manitoba. She brings with her to Whakauae a strong interest in the lived experience of Indigenous peoples with chronic illness and disability as well as significant experience as an activist with the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Manitoba.

During her three-month placement, Valdine will primarily be working with the Whakauae team on their HRC-funded research project, Preventing Chronic Conditions (PCC): Learnings from Participatory Research with Māori. The aims of the research project are 1) to examine how the prevention (primary and secondary prevention) of chronic conditions is being modelled, practiced and measured in three Māori health service providers; 2) to define what short term outcomes are being achieved; and, 3) to enable naturalistic generalisations to be made to inform wider health service development.

Valdine’s role within the research team will be examining Indigenous chronic disease prevention practices in both Canada and New Zealand. She will update the (PCC) literature review already conducted by the team and additionally conduct a review of recent Canadian literature around Indigenous models of chronic condition prevention. The outcome will be a comparative analysis of chronic condition prevention models in Canada and New Zealand.

Whakauae Research welcomes Valdine and looks forward to working with her both during the coming three months and beyond.


Whakauae's Gill Potaka-Osborne Graduates

Gill Potaka-Osborne

Gill at her graduation with three of her eight mokopuna;
from left: Awanuiarangi Pirikahu-Tawhitapou, Taiana-Grace and Te Atarau Raupita.


In mid-May, Whakauae’s Gill Potaka-Osborne was conferred with her Postgraduate Diploma in Social Sector Evaluation Research (with Merit) following two years of intensive part-time study. The Postgraduate Diploma was awarded at Massey University’s Hui Whakahōnore Pōtaetanga Ākonga Māori held at the Regent Theatre in Broadway, Palmerston North. Members of Gill’s whānau were there to share in the celebrations together with her Whakauae colleagues. Gill was one of three graduates from Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi and among 24 Māori graduates from the University’s Te Kura Pūkenga Tangata College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Gill’s study towards the Postgraduate Diploma in Social Sector Evaluation Research has benefited hugely from, and been informed by, the evaluation work she has conducted over the past eight years. As a member of the wider Whakauae evaluation team, Gill has worked closely with a range of Māori health service providers and with Māori focussed programmes being delivered under the umbrella of organisations such as the Whanganui and Taranaki District Health Boards and Sport Whanganui. We wish Gill all the best with her future study goals. 


Release of the Tapuhi Tū Toa Audit Report

Tapuhi Tū Toa Intervention research lead, Dr Heather Gifford and auditor, Lynley Cvitanovic discuss the Audit Report recommendations.


Dr Heather Gifford has welcomed Whakauae’s recent release of the Tapuhi Tū Toa Audit Report. The Report covers the factors that contributed to the pilot Māori student nurses smoking cessation intervention gaining limited traction in targeted schools of nursing in 2016 and what may need to happen if the Intervention is to be successfully delivered in the future. The pilot Intervention model was developed by Whakauae, and its research partners, as an outcome of an HRC-funded study in 2014 - 2015. That research explored nurses smoking cessation attitudes and behaviours along with the impact of smoking on their professional identities as health workers.

The Implementation model was feasibility tested with nursing tauira, during Te Rūnanga New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation (NZNO) hui, who strongly supported implementation of the intervention. On the strength of these results, Whakauae funded the necessary intervention research to be carried out through targeted schools of nursing. “Understanding why the intervention failed to gain traction was a major concern for me as well as for those who had worked hard trying to make it happen” lead researcher, Dr Gifford explained.

Audit findings highlight that the model itself was widely supported by a range of stakeholders. The model incorporated components considered integral to supporting nursing tauira on a cessation journey. The audit evidence identifies that the primary barriers to implementation lie not within the model itself but in the realities of the schools of nursing delivery context. Whilst institutional barriers present as the primary impediment to the successful implementation of Tapuhi Tū Toa, the Research Team’s need to conclude the study by the end of 2016 also figures.

Findings highlight too the multiple, competing demands and stresses which students are juggling daily, often including study as well as whānau and paid work commitments, and the difficulties this posed for additionally participating in the Intervention study. The Research Team’s under-estimation of the challenges of working across sectors (research, health and tertiary education), especially when timeframes are tight and the complexities of the tertiary education environment are not adequately factored in, were also noted. For the already stretched staff in schools of nursing, facilitating the participation of tauira in the Tapuhi Tū Toa Intervention was not necessarily a priority.

The robust and intensive work undertaken by the Intervention Coordinator, who was contracted to get the Intervention ‘off the ground’ in six schools of nursing over the course of the year, was identified. She consistently demonstrated flexibility, resourcefulness and the willingness to seek and take the advice of the Research Team where appropriate. The universal view was that the work that the Coordinator had carried out, in difficult circumstances, could not be faulted.

Future successful facilitation of the Intervention in schools of nursing settings would mean better timing of delivery along with linking tauira participation to the gaining of credits towards completion of a formal assessment. Putting the Intervention ‘on the map’ for tertiary institutions and their tauira well in advance was also critical along with having a well-grounded working knowledge of how tertiary institutions operate, and of their operational contexts. Audit Report recommendations included that culturally appropriate alternative sites for implementation of the model, outside the boundaries of tertiary institution schools of nursing, be seriously considered.

At its recent final hui, the Research Advisory Group, which included both tertiary institution staff and Te Rūnanga (NZNO) representatives, endorsed the audit findings. Despite the work that remains to be done to successfully negotiate barriers to Intervention implementation, the Group expressed their continued confidence in the potential of the Intervention to make the necessary impact on Māori student nurses smoking rates. The hui concluded with Te Rūnanga representatives agreeing to investigate trialling the Intervention model, under the umbrella of their regional organisational structure in a targeted rohe, in 2018. This approach to implementing the model would bring together Māori nursing students from across several tertiary institutions bypassing some of the complexities of delivery within schools of nursing themselves.


The full Tapuhi Tū Toa Audit Report is now available here.


Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT)

Presenters at an indigenous symposium from the left; Dan Tautolo, Stephanie Erick, Raglan Maddox, Richard Edwards, Anaru Waa, Heather Gifford, Ray Lovett, Joanne D’Silva.


Report from Dr Heather Gifford after attending the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) Annual Conference, Florence, Italy, 8-11 March 2017.

I was very privileged to be able to participate in the SRNT conference this year in Florence. I joined a group of Aspire2025 researchers from Aotearoa including Pacific researchers, Stephanie Erick (now working with Hāpai Te Hauora) and Dr El-Shadan (Dan) Tuatolo (AUT), along with Anaru Waa, and Professors Richard Edwards and Janet Hoek from the University of Otago. Aotearoa was also represented by Professor Chris Bullen and Associate Professor Natalie Walker from the University of Auckland. Collectively a number of posters, symposia, key note addresses and oral presentations were delivered by this team of researchers together making a significant contribution to scientific debate on global tobacco control.

The conference stimulated my thinking around current issues such as the role of vaping, or e- cigarettes, and their contribution to harm minimisation as well as presenting the most current evidence on vaping from a number of perspectives. However, as important as these discussions were, what I really enjoyed was the more philosophical debates. These ranged from the role of incentivisation in quitting and the morality or otherwise of this, the role of government and legislation in achieving smokefree nation status and the counter arguments about free choice to topics such as the broader commitment of national treaties such as the FCTC to indigenous people. 

I was left feeling excited by the open and often vigorous debate that was held in small oral presentations where informal conversations erupted with experts from around the globe.  


Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) Annual Conference, Florence, Italy, 8-11 March 2017
Pre-Conference meeting with researchers associated with the SRNT Inequalities Network


Those with an interest in indigenous tobacco control met before the conference started as part of the inequalities network. This provided an opportunity to advance the agenda of indigenous tobacco control globally. A special thank you to Anaru Waa for facilitating this discussion and co-ordinating much of the indigenous networking and presentation that occurred at the conference. Meeting with partners from the International Tobacco Control research programme, as part of which ASPIRE2025 has two research projects (one directly focused on Māori tobacco control), was also an opportunity to advance discussions about the need to focus on indigenous tobacco control.   


Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) Annual Conference, Florence, Italy, 8-11 March 2017
Meeting of researchers working on the global ITC research programme. From the left; Anaru Waa, Anne  Quah, Geoff Fong, Stephanie Erick, David Thomas, Heather Gifford, Richard Edwards and Dan Tautolo.


One line of thinking that we will be progressing now we are back in Aotearoa is writing up how Māori tobacco control leadership continues to shape the tobacco end game solutions within Aotearoa. It is important to recognise the impact of the early leadership by Te Reo Marama and others to frame the tobacco issue as an industry generated problem and highlighting the role of colonisation in tobacco smoking; lobbying of the Māori politicians in efforts towards end game solutions and the role of Māori leadership in spearheading the smokefree2025 efforts for Aotearoa. While it is helpful to have a broader lobby group to advance tobacco control in this country, it is critical to acknowledge the role Māori tobacco control advocates have had and still have in generating the solutions for Māori tobacco smoking.   


Mōkai Pātea Waitangi Claims Hearings 2017

Mōkai Pātea Claims Trust Manager and former Whakauae Director, Richard Steedman with Gloria Toheriri, the Hearing Facilitator for the Mokai Patea Claims Trust hard at work on day five of the hearings.


The first round of substantive hearings into the Taihape rohe land claims took place at Rātā Marae over the week of 06 – 10 March 2017, hosted by Ngāti Hauiti. Along with Ngāti Hauiti there are another three iwi involved in the claims; Ngāi Te Ohuake, Ngāti Tamakōpiri and Ngāti Whitikaupeka. The four iwi are together represented by the Mōkai Pātea Waitangi Claims Trust. The claims, among the last major claims in the country left to settle, cover the area from the summit of the Desert Road down to Rātā, and from the summit of the Ruahine Range to west of the township of Taihape. The Waitangi Tribunal was represented at the Rātā Marae hearings by Judge Layne Harvey and a panel including Sir Douglas Kidd, Dr Angela Ballara and Dr Monty Soutar.

At the close of 2016 the third round of Ngā Kōrero Tuku Iho hearings, exploring the origins of local iwi and hapū as well as determining the parameters of their claims region was completed. Those initial hearings provided an opportunity for tangata whenua to share knowledge passed down by their tūpuna through oral histories setting the stage for the substantive hearings phase of the claims. The research phase of the inquiry has also now been completed along with the interlocutory process leading in to commencement of substantive hearings.

The substantive hearings week was a big one for local iwi and especially for hosts, Ngāti Hauiti. Whakauae, as Ngāti Hauiti’s owned and mandated Māori health research centre, was involved in supporting the week through maintaining a presence both in the kitchen and in the hearings audience to tautoko the Mōkai Pātea Waitangi Claims Trust kōrero. There was a strong presence from amongst all four iwi throughout the five days of hearings.

Many hundreds of meals were prepared in the kitchen at Rātā during the course of the week under the very able guidance of Aunty Erena Metekingi-Anson and cousin, Mina Bourke. The two women, together with other whānau, had begun their mahi over the weekend preceding the hearings. Whakauae then joined the team of ringawera contributing to the ongoing round of kai preparation and clean up culminating with hākari on Friday 10 March 2017.

There will be a number of other substantive hearings taking place later in 2017 to be hosted at various Mōkai Pātea marae. Whakauae looks forward to contributing to iwi support at these hearings.

He Manawa Whenua Conference, Hamilton, 5-8 March 2017

Leonie Pihama, on behalf of Tainui, hands over the mauri of the conference to Hawai’i


In a busy week for Whakauae, whilst some of the staff was supporting Ngāti Hauiti at week one of the Wai2180 - Taihape: Rangitikei ki Rangipo District Inquiry substantive hearings, others were presenting research at the He Manawa Whenua Indigenous Research Conference in Kirikiriroa. The theme of the four-day conference, hosted by Te Kotahi Research Institute, was Mana Motuhake (Indigenous Sovereignty) and therefore the conference showcased the great diversity of Indigenous thinking, scholarship and activism from Aotearoa and beyond.


Whakauae staff participated in three separate presentations. Rachel Brown presented with colleagues Bridgette Masters-Awatere (University of Waikato), and Donna Cormack (University of Otago), on the collaborative study Hospital transfers: whānau involvement in the healing equation project. This Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga-funded project seeks to understand how Māori are involved in care of, and decisions about, a whānau member, when that whānau member is transferred to a hospital outside of their home area. While only in its early stages, Rachel presented some preliminary findings from interviews with whānau, which identified a number of barriers that prevent whānau members from providing the support they would wish to their ill relatives. The team will conduct further interviews in order to gain a complete understanding of the issues facing whānau in this situation.


Gill Potaka Osborne conducted a roundtable discussion, ably supported by Maaki Tuatini and Roberta Williams from Raetihi Pah, on the Te Puawai o Te Ahi Kaa project. Gill outlined the project and the positive outcomes that were becoming evident now this Ministry-funded innovation initiative is in its third and final year. Whilst there have been a number of positive developments arising as a consequence of this project, one of the most exciting is that all the men who had participated in this initiative had become smoke-free. Gill commented that the challenge now is to secure further funding so that the initiative can become sustainable in the long-term, and continue to build on its successes.


He Manawa Whenua Conference, Hamilton, 5-8 March 2017
Gill Potaka Osborne presents the evaluation of Te Puawai o te Ahi Kaa


Finally, Amohia Boulton and Tania Williams-Blyth presented a paper entitled E tipu E rea: The Care & Protection of Māori Children. Based on the research conducted by Tania through Whakauae in 2015-2016, the presenters outlined the research findings and discussed an intervention that arose directly from the research. The intervention, Mokopuna Ora, is currently being trialled by Waikato-Tainui in partnership with Child Youth and Family Services. The intervention aims to reduce the number of Waikato-Tainui mokopuna entering state care; increase the number of mokopuna already in state care being placed within whānau, hapū and iwi; support whānau into the role of primary caregiver; and, connect mokopuna to their tribal identity.


Other highlights of the conference included some truly inspirational keynote speakers, who covered topics as diverse the occupation of Mauna Kea in Hawai’i and the tangata whenua’s fight to prevent the construction of a telescope on their sacred maunga; through to presenters who questioned our progress towards self determination as Māori and as Indigenous peoples; and how we translate critical concepts such as mana motuhake into meaningful strategies for our everyday lives?


The conference concluded with a ceremony that handed over the Mauri of the conference to a delegation from Hawai’i, who will host the next He Manawa Whenua in 2018.

"Sell out" presentation to the University of Otago

Whakauae’s Dr Heather Gifford recently took up an invitation from the Department of Public Health, University of Otago to present at an open seminar on its Wellington campus in Newtown. Heather used the seminar opportunity to explore the challenges and learnings resulting from a 2016 aborted attempt to pilot and evaluate a tobacco cessation intervention with Māori student nurses. The seminar attracted wide attention perhaps due in part to it being billed as a ‘no holds barred’ exploration of how ‘a good intervention’ can end up ‘going bad’ despite the best efforts of many.

The seminar covered Heather and the research team’s experience as they grappled with the multiple demands of translating their recent research results into ‘action on the ground’. Between 2012 and 2015 Whakauae, with research partners NZNO and Taupua Waiora Centre for Māori Health Research (AUT), carried out HRC funded research with Māori nurses who smoke. That research explored nurses smoking cessation attitudes and behaviours along with the impact of smoking on their professional identities as health workers. It included an NZNO led survey of 410 nurses and nursing students along with in depth interviews with 100 nurses and student nurses.

Results of the 2012 – 2015 research highlighted that it was not unusual for nurses who smoke to be unfamiliar with cessation interventions and / or with the evidence supporting successful smoking cessation. Results additionally pointed to the need to develop a smoking cessation intervention specifically targeting Māori nursing students given that their smoking rate was higher than that of nurses. It emerged that student nurses were ‘primed’ for quitting due to being in formal learning settings where the role of the health professional in promoting and maintaining health were a focus. That experience highlighted the contradictions around being a smoker as well as being a health professional for many students.  

In the concluding phase of the 2012 – 2015 study, a Māori student nurses smoking cessation intervention model was developed by the research team and feasibility tested with audiences including Māori student nurses themselves. The results of feasibility testing strongly supported the pilot implementation and evaluation of the model.

On the strength of these results, Whakauae funded the necessary intervention research to be carried out through targeted schools of nursing. A research advisory group, which included members of the original research partnership along with a number of cessation experts, was set up. A highly experienced facilitator and Māori cessation expert was appointed to lead the intervention and an evaluation was commissioned. Heather’s seminar described the progress of the pilot leading up to the decision, by the research leads, to ‘call it quits’ in October 2016. It concluded with early results of the audit Whakauae is carrying out to establish what the ‘tipping points’ were in implementing the intervention.

Leading the field are the research team’s under-estimation of the challenges of working across sectors (research, health and tertiary education), especially when timeframes are tight, together with understanding the complexities of the tertiary education environment and the multiple, competing demands and stresses which students are juggling on a daily basis. Though there is work still to be done on negotiating the barriers to successfully implementing the intervention, Heather and the research team are confident that it has the potential to make the necessary impact on Māori student nurses smoking rates. She issued an invitation to the wider research community to consider taking up the challenge to moving the intervention on to the next level. Heather’s power point seminar presentation is available on our publications page and a recording of the seminar is available on request.

Attendance at the Iwi Chairs Forum, Waitangi

Technical Advisers from the Te Ranga Tupua collective at the Waitangi ICF (from left to right): Tracey Hiroa, GM Mokai Patea Services (MPS); Dr Amohia Boulton, WRS; Ngahina Transom, Iwi Education Manager, MPS; and Frana Chase, CEO, Te Oranganui Iwi Health Services


In early February Dr Amohia Boulton accompanied Rūnanga Chair, Neville Lomax to the recent Iwi Chairs Forum (ICF) at Waitangi where the topics of “vulnerable children”, Te Ture Whenua, and Māori interests in freshwater were high on the agenda.  At this year’s Waitangi forum, participants were addressed by the new Prime Minister Hon Bill English, and Deputy Prime Minister Hon Paula Bennett. They were accompanied by 11 other Ministers of the Crown whose portfolios covered areas as diverse as Treaty Settlements, Transport, Education and Conservation.


A highlight from this ICF included the announcement by the Hon Te Ururoa Flavell of the creation of a Māori Economic Taumata which will meet twice a year for high level discussions between economic ministers and iwi chairs on issues of economic significance to both parties. Further information on this announcement can be found here.


The Minister for Education announced the release of infographics on education data at a regional and in some instances, iwi level. The technical advisers from the Mokai Patea rohe who were in attendance at this ICF noted the release of data for Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Apa and the Mokai Patea rohe. The infographics are available here.


The next ICF meeting is scheduled for the 4-5th of May in Whakatane.


Nga Pae o te Maramatanga - Researcher Wānanga

2nd and 3rd February, Waipapa Marae, Auckland.


Whakauae Research Services, the University of Auckland and Waikato University have partnered to undertake research looking at hospital transfers for Maori. The project is funded through Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga and is titled: Hospital Transfers, whānau involvement in the healing equation. The project has four distinct phases.



To gain a comprehensive understanding of patterns of hospital transfers and experiences of whānau who wish to stay actively engaged in care



Includes stakeholder buy-in to understand better how the hospital system and broader policy contexts facilitate or hinder active whānau involvement



Incorporates mapping and identifying strategies or environments that promote active whānau participation in care



This part involves discussion, debate and generating awareness of the impacts of hospital transfers on both side of the healing equation by making sure research findings continue to be distributed through multiple forms


As part of this project, Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga held a two-day researcher wānanga for all funded researchers at Waipapa Marae in Auckland. The kaupapa was to build stronger collegiality amongst lead investigators, by sharing fresh project insights and work plans to ensure a cohesive and collaborative programme of research. Researchers from all over New Zealand attended and presented under four funded themes;


  • Whai Rawa - Prosperous Indigenous Economies
  • Te Tai Ao - Healthy Natural Environments
  • Mauri Ora - Indigenous Human Flourishing
  • Te Reo me Ngā Tikanga Māori - Thriving Indigenous Languages & Cultures

Project team representatives Dr Bridgette Awatere-Masters (University of Waikato), Dr Donna Cormack (the University of Auckland) and Ms Rachel Brown (Whakauae Research Services) presented an overview of the project, current activities and future planning. The wānanga provided a safe cultural environment where issues and challenges could also be raised, discussed with possible support and solutions obtained. The team enjoyed being amongst researchers and esteemed leaders from different fields where insights and findings were shared across various disciplines (business, health, science, reo).


As part of the wānanga, there was important emphasis placed on Māori health research and its future strategic direction. The wānanga facilitated the promotion of Ngā Pae’s strategic direction document; Ahunga Āta Whakarite 2016-2020. Wānanga participants engaged in a lively dialogue about how Māori can develop, facilitate and drive a national Māori health research strategy. Such a strategy is important if we, as Māori are to determine our own research agenda and implement culturally appropriate protocols and processes in regard to research activities.





International Indigenous Research Conference - Auckland

Staff from Whakauae recently attended the International Indigenous Research Conference 2016 held at The University of Auckland in association with Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga. This was a prime opportunity to hear about the work other Indigenous and Māori researchers are conducting in a range of areas. Conference themes included:


  • Whai Rawa - Prosperous Indigenous Economies
  • Te Tai Ao - Healthy Natural Environments
  • Mauri Ora - Indigenous Human Flourishing
  • Mahi Auaha - Creative Indigenous Innovation  
  • Te Reo me Ngā Tikanga Māori - Thriving Indigenous Languages & Cultures

The conference started with a pōwhiri to welcome over 500 registered delegates. International attendees travelled from various countries including: U.S.A, Canada, Fiji, Hawaii, Australia, Japan and the Philippines.


Keynote speakers included from Aotearoa: Sir Tipene O’Regan, Prof Linda Smith, Justice Joe Williams, Prof Emeritus Sir Mason Durie, as well as those from overseas: Mr Patrick Kelly (CAN), Dr Donna De Gennaro (USA), Prof Kyle Powys Whyte (USA).


The Whakauae team split their time to attend two of the three pre-conference workshops focused on Indigenous Data Sovereignty and Indigenous Early Careers. Amohia presented on Publishing Articles and Book Chapters as part of the Early Careers Workshop. Her presentation discussed tips for how emerging researchers could get published, how to write a good publication, where to publish and she also spoke of her own experiences both positive and negative and the strategies she currently employs to publish regularly.


The conference programme also incorporated two book launches. One book, entitled, Indigenous Data Sovereignty: Toward an agenda, supported the pre-conference workshop and has been edited by Prof Tahu Kukutai and Emeritus Prof John Taylor. The other book that was launched is entitled Diversity in Community: Indigenous scholars writing, and is edited by Dr Mere Kepa and Dr Cheryl Stephens. The Indigenous Data Sovereignty Book can be downloaded for free by following on this link here.


Indigenous Data Sovereignty: Toward an agendaDiversity in Community: Indigenous scholars writing


In addition to the conference Whakauae were also invited to present at the University of Auckland Tomaiora Series (School of Population Health, Tāmaki Campus). Amohia presented on Whakauae Research Services and what it means to be an iwi research organisation. The presentation detailed the history of the centre and the on-going relationship with Ngāti Hauiti. Amohia also presented the organisation mission, goals, projects and roles as well as those that form part of the team.

Amohia’s presentation can be accessed here.


Supporting emerging and senior researchers is a key activity within Whakauae. Our researcher Kiri Parata presented on her research undertaken within her own iwi in Waikanae. Her presentation entitled: Whāia Te Ahi Kā: Ahi kā and its role in oranga was a community driven research project funded by the Health Research Council of NZ. The research looked at ahi kā and how that fits in contemporary society for her whānau particularly as many are living overseas.


Ms Kiri Parata presenting her research


Ms Aria Graham, a PhD student supervised by Amohia, also presented her research on young mother’s experiences of wellbeing following birth of the first tamaiti. The research brings to the fore the elements that Māori women signal as vital to their wellbeing.


As collaboration is important to our work, the team also supported our project partners in particular, Wai Research kaimahi Mr Haze White and Ms Deborah Te Whiu. They presented on a research project that looked at whānau associated with Te Whānau o Waipareira.  The presentation was entitled: Te Haerenga Roa o urban whānau: Capturing catalysts of hauora, and can be accessed here.


The research captures the stories and experiences of flourishing West Auckland whānau and focuses on the catalysts that enable whānau to move from a state of crisis to stability and ultimately to one of success.


Photo from left of Georgina Martin & Haze White (both from WAI Research), Lady Durie, Meihana Durie, Tanya Allport (WAI Research) Amohia Boulton (WRS), Donna Te Whiu (WAI Research) and Prof Sir Mason Durie at Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga’s International Conference.


Whakauae are also involved in the project: Remaining in the care equation: Hospital Transfers funded by Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga in partnership with University of Waikato and Auckland University. Dr Bridgette Awatere-Masters presented the project outline and milestones. The project looks at whānau who have had an ‘away from home hospital transfer’ with the aim of identifying issues and challenges they face when away but want to be involved in the health care equation.


A final highlight from the conference was a presentation by Dr Kahu McClintock and Dr Maureen Holderway on the review of the National Ethics Advisory Committee (NEAC) guidelines. NEAC are calling for consultation and in particular Maori input. Public consultation will be taking place in the new year but whānau can have their say by emailing and also following the link for further information


Conference attendance for the team is a very busy time and members utilise down time to network, meet with potential partners and develop ideas for further research projects. In addition to presenting and supporting a number of people and their presentations we also spent time progressing project work (in particular identifying avenues and components to publish as well as recruitment and methods for data collection). Further information on the conference including programme and abstracts can be found here:


AES Conference 2016, Perth, Australia (19-21 September)

Official opening of AES Conference at The Hyatt Hotel in Perth featuring welcome to country by Shaun Nannup of Nyoongar


The AES Conference is an annual conference hosted by New Zealand and Australia. This year’s theme, ‘Landscapes’ was a platform to reflect on what diversity and change in social, organisational, environmental, political and economic landscapes means for evaluation and evaluators.

Further AES Conference information is available here.


AES Conference 2016, Perth, AustraliaDr Amohia Boulton, Lynley Cvitanovic and Gill Potaka-Osborne (Whakauae Research for Māori Health and Development) along with Maaki Tuatini (Te Puawai o Te Ahi Kaa Evaluation Project, Raetihi) attended the Conference in Perth. Dr Boulton is an AES board member and Maaki Tuatini was a recipient of this year’s AES Conference Support Grants awarded to emerging Indigenous evaluators. This enabled Maaki to take part both in the Conference itself and in the series of pre-Conference workshops that were held at the Metro Hotel Perth.  Maaki benefited from a workshop entitled Collaborative Outcomes reporting (COR): A participatory Impact evaluation approach with Jess Dart and Zazie Tolmer.

On the first day of the Conference, Gill, Lynley and Maaki co-presented a session entitled “Outside the box- but kinda in the box”. This gave Gill, Lynley and Maaki an opportunity to report on methods used in the Te Puawai o te Ahi Kaa Evaluation project. This presentation included views from both the evaluators and those being evaluated.


On the second day, Dr Boulton presented a session entitled “The Strengthening Evaluation Practices and Strategies (STEPS) in Indigenous settings in Australia and New Zealand Project: Next ‘steps’ in the journey”. She was supported by Sharon Clarke and Lynley Cvitanovic, the former an aboriginal colleague from Adelaide who works in Indigenous communities and the latter a research colleague from Whakauae Research Services. The session gave Dr Boulton the opportunity to build on previous work such as the development of a draft set of principles (presented at AES 2014) and construction of a dynamic conceptual framework (presented at AES 2015). Dr Boulton described a concept mapping process where Indigenous and non-Indigenous evaluators and community members from Australia and New Zealand brainstormed strategies for undertaking culturally safe evaluation. Findings from these concept maps will be used to develop strategies to enhance culturally competent and safe evaluation. On the final day Dr Boulton and Ms Cvitanovic conducted a 30-minute workshop/session? where participants were invited to take part in a rating activity of the concept mapping process. These activities will be used to advance the Indigenous evaluation agenda of AES.


Dr Amohia Boulton and Sharon Clarke at the Newcomers breakfast.


During the Conference those new to the conference and evaluation were invited to attend a breakfast. These enabled conference grant recipients of and other first timers to meet, greet and forge new evaluation relationships.

An Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner was held to recognise exemplary evaluation practice, evaluation systems or evaluation capacity building in Australasia (Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Pacifica).  These annual awards provide significant peer recognition for leading evaluators, leading evaluations and evaluation best practice. In addition, there was an official presentation of the Conference grants by Sharon Clarke.


Dr Amohia Boulton and Sharon Clarke with the AES 2016 Conference Support recipients.


Taking part in conferences such as that convened by AES is a great opportunity for building new networks and reconnecting with old ones. Such conferences provide a showcase for innovative ideas and methods that challenge and make us think about our own evaluation practice.


Lowitja Conference - Melbourne 8-10 November 2016

Left to Right: Prof Wilson, Amohia and Heather make last minute changes to their presentation.

Drs Heather Gifford and Amohia Boulton recently spent four days in Melbourne attending the Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference. While there, they co-presented a paper with two of Whakauae’s research partners, Prof Denise Wilson of Taupua Waiora, AUT University and Tanya Allport of Wai Research.

The conference was formed around the three themes of Identity, Knowledge and Strength. Conference highlights included a welcome to country by the traditional owners, the Kulin Nation; a performance by the famous Aboriginal musician Uncle Archie Roach and one by the Dhungala Children’s Choir, as well as amazing keynote speakers Moana Jackson and Karina Walters and a moving presentation regarding Canada’s reconciliation process from Chief Wilton Littlechild.

In our panel presentation, entitled “Reclaiming and Transforming Research and Practice” we showcased each of our respective research centres as sites of Indigenous knowledge reclamation. All three centres have a focus on Māori health and wellbeing but each has emerged from a very different pathway. Whakauae Research is a tribally owned research centre located in a small town in NZ, Taupua Waiora is a Māori research centre located at Auckland University of Technology and WAI Research is part of a large urban Māori health provider in West Auckland; Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust.

Heather, Prof Wilson, and Tanya described the origins of their respective centres, their victories and the challenges they have faced and how their centres are contributing to shaping the research agenda for Māori health. After their individual presentations, Amohia, in the role of discussant drew together the themes common across all three presentations and linked these to the three overarching conference themes. The presentation provided stories of innovation, courage, stamina and excellence in Indigenous research, illustrating examples of how indigenous research centres may be constructed in a number of ways.


The panel presenting at Lowitja Conference

The panel presenting at Lowitja Conference

In addition to our own presentation we also spent time networking, progressing project work (in particular recruiting for the STEPs project), and assisting the NZ members of the conference secretariat. One specific piece of work we contributed to was the drafting of the Lowitja Conference Statement. We worked alongside a small team of researchers and academics drawn from across the conference participants, and under the guidance of Romlie Mokak, the CEO of the Lowitja Institute to produce the statement, which was then endorsed by conference goers on the final day of the conference. The conference statement is a call to action on the part of individuals, communities, organisations and governments alike to support Indigenous peoples in their self-determination efforts. This statement can be found here:


Whakauae and Otago receive HRC funding

Whakauae has great pleasure in announcing a successful HRC application in the 2015 annual round. The project, Te Ara Auahi Kore (TAKe) started on September 1st 2016 and aligns to the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project.   

A recent article published in The Wave – The ITC Project Newsletter describes the project that the University of Otago, Whakauae Research Services and Māori Health Service providers from around the motu are conducting. 

Whilst smoking continues to have a huge impact on Māori, more high quality evidence is required to inform action.  

For information please don’t hesitate to contact any of the project's Principle Investigators: Andrew Waa (, Dr. Heather Gifford (, or Bridget Robson (

Tribunal Hearings

Left to Right - Dennis Timoti, Gill Potaka-Osborne, Tamati Potaka, Stacey Ranginui (front), Sonja Loveridge, Rachel Brown, Melody Potaka-Osborne


A third set of preliminary hearings into Taihape area land claims was held at Rātā Marae on Monday, 12 September 2016 and Whakauae was there in support - in the kitchen, on the ground taking photos and listening to the kōrero during the tribunal visit to Rātā Marae.

Ngā Kōrero Tuku Iho hearings are the earliest of Waitangi Tribunal hearings, to determine the area under consideration, the iwi and hapū resident there and their origins. The term “Ngā Kōrero Tuku Iho” refers to the reconfiguring of oral history and oral traditions, knowledge that has been passed down by tūpuna and spoken histories. The Ngā Kōrero Tuku Iho hearing are more about outlining who a people are, than about  discussing any grievances the people have with the Crown.

The hearings were a four-day event, ending at Moawhango Marae near Taihape. The Mōkai Pātea Waitangi Claims Trust represents four iwi in the area, Ngāi Te Ohuake, Ngāti Hauiti, Ngāti Tamakōpiri and Ngāti Whitikaupeka.

The official claim number is Wai 2180, which covers the area from the summit of the Desert Road down to Rātā, and the summit of the Ruahine Range to west of Taihape township. It is one of the last claims left to settle in the country.

While our time in support of Ngāti Hauiti in the kitchen was hard work, it was very rewarding in terms of “team building” and supporting our Ngāti Hauiti whānau, the confederation of Mōkai Pātea and the important work of the tribunal.

Dr Boulton noted the wealth of knowledge that is held by the leaders from Mōkai Pātea, which was shared both with the Crown and the people of Mōkai Pātea who were able to attend part or all of the hearings.  “We deal with research data and information on a daily basis, and know the importance of having precise information at our fingertips. Those members of iwi who presented at the hearings demonstrated their phenomenal research skills and expertise, conveying clearly and precisely oral histories, traditions and whakapapa lines which they have learned, investigated and synthesised over many years. Personally I found it both a humbling and an uplifting experience to be reminded in such a unique setting, of the importance of knowing our history and tikanga as Māori. I am sure as we move into the next phase of the treaty settlements process we will further reflect on our traditions, histories and whakapapa, and the direct relevance these still have for our aspirations as Māori today and into the future.”