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New Health Research Fellowship Honours Kuia

Release: Health Research Centre

The Health Research Council has created a new senior Maori health research fellowship in honour of former HRC Kaumatua Dr Erihapeti Rehu Murchie.

The Erihapeti Murchie Fellowship in Maori Health has been approved by Dr Murchie’s whanau, who will be involved in the selection of recipients. It will be available to emerging leaders in Maori health research who have completed their PhD.

Their research must focus on topics in which Dr Murchie was active - Maori women’s and children’s health; whare tapa wha (a four point holistic health model involving hauora tinana, hauora hinengaro, hauora whanau, and hauora wairua; physical, mental, spiritual and whanau health); health promotion; or health policy, including Maori and indigenous human rights.

Says HRC Maori Health Research Manager, Te Herekiekie Herewini: “Erihapeti was a fount of wisdom and tikanga, which she shared to benefit her people. We hope this fellowship will train many more people who will make the same impact on Maori health as she did.”

The Erihapeti Murchie Fellowship will be advertised later this year for a closing date of 1 September, 2000, and the first recipient will start their fellowship in 2001.

The HRC currently spends $1 million each year on Maori health research career development awards. This money is funding 19 PhD students and four post-doctoral Maori health researchers.

Dr Murchie was a member of the HRC Maori Health Committee from 1991 to 1994 and HRC Kaumatua from 1996 until she died in 1997. Originally educated as a teacher, Dr Murchie contributed to a wide range of arts, health and education organisations, as well as statutory bodies.

Dr Murchie was a member of the Maori Women’s Welfare League for three decades, and was its health research director from 1980 to 1986, responsible for the inaugural study of Maori women’s health, Rapuora. Among many other roles, she represented the Human Rights Commission for five years on the United Nations Working Group on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, awarded an honorary LLD from Victoria University, a New Zealand Medal and a QSO.

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