Tom Johnson

Design Lead and PhD Student

He ripo, he tipua, he kāinga

Ko wai au? He uri mokopuna ahau nō te awa tupua, me te awa Rangitīkei.
Ko Tom Johnson tōku ingoa.

Here at home, our whānau hold centuries of expertise in living well with taiao in our rohe across Whanganui, Ruapehu and Te Rangitīkei. I have been lucky to watch our communities tackle complex problems with their own place-based solutions, drawing on the kōrero tuku iho of their Tūpuna to create sustainable and meaningful change in their lives. Like a river fed by its tributaries, the researcher adds to the body of evidence, becoming another current that helps move the evidence of our community's knowledge and solutions forward. My responsibility is to relay the ideas that people in our communities have for solving complex health concerns upstream, to those in positions of power, who distribute resources, and who can bring their weight to our people to help us lead our own positive change. I work with researchers in translating and disseminating high-quality research from Whakauae into outputs like publications,comics, videos (and others) that motivate stakeholders to make positive changes on the ground alongside our whānau. The deep and expert kōrero held by our community members and their determination to make a lasting, positive difference in the lives of their mokopuna inspired me to pursue a career in research.

Supported by Whakauae, I am also completing a PhD project with Auckland University of Technology, which examines how ancestral knowledge from our rohe can help Tāne Māori in maintaining their health and wellbeing. I am being supervised by Dr Tanya Allport and Dr Isaac Warbrick as well as my peers at the Whakauae tari and at home.  I have a Bachelor of Business Studies from Massey University and a Masters in Innovation and Commercialisation from Victoria University of Wellington.

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Tom Johnson