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$5mill Grant An Iwi First To Drive Better Healthoutcomes For Māori

Whakauae Research Services has received $5 million from the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) for a five-year programme to build knowledge on what is needed for better health outcomes for Māori and therefore Aotearoa.

It’s the first time Whakauae, which was established by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Hauiti (Iwi o Rangitīkei rohe) in 2005, has applied for HRC’s programme grant. It’s also the first time the programme fund has been awarded to an iwi-owned health research centre.

Whakauae Research Centre Director Amohia Boulton says the research is critical to effect the changes needed to improve health outcomes for Māori. The aim is to release findings throughout the course of the programme, so evidence can be used to inform policy and strategy work happening now in the health sector.

“Equity is a right enshrined within Te Tiriti o Waitangi, however, Māori do not get to exercise rangatiratanga over the most fundamental of human rights – their health and wellbeing.

“This programme seeks to fundamentally challenge the way the health system works – or doesn’t work – for Māori.

“We must develop and lead our own solutions if we are to realise the aspirations of our tupuna to flourish as Māori. This means building and testing our knowledge and what that looks like in the current context.”

The programme takes a collaborative approach with multi-disciplinary teams from University, community and Iwi working together to achieve four key aronga or objectives. Each objective has its own corresponding research project, they include:

establish new knowledge on the leadership, governance and decision-making models required for iwi/Māori to make significant and enduring advances in the equity of health outcome

build knowledge on safe and healthy home environments for whānau Māori to flourish

establish whānau and clinical concepts of good practice in the primary health care system, specifically increasing Māori access to health care in the pre-diagnosis phase of cancer

achieve knowledge translation for impact pathways to facilitate key systems change.

The programme draws heavily on mātauranga Maori, tikanga Māori and the values of Ngāti Hauiti.

Overarching the 5-year work programme will also be two key advisory groups. The first will ensure tikanga underpins all aspects of the mahi. The second is a Translation Impact and Uptake (TUI) advisory group comprising key decision-makers to advise on positioning findings to achieve maximum impact.

“With reforms to our Health sector and everything that the global pandemic has taught us, now more than ever is the time to provide this kind of robust, evidence-based Māori worldview research.” Says Boulton.

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