Healthier Lives Newsletter June 2022

23 June 2022

Mānawatia a Matariki

Matariki Social Media Post Square

Rere atu kā mihi I raro I tēnei putaka o te tau, arā ko Puaka Matariki.

He wā maumahara, he wā ako, wānaka, he wā whakanui kaupapa hoki. Mānawatia a Matariki.

We send our greetings for the rising of Puaka and Matariki.

It’s the time for remembering those who have passed, it’s a time of learning, and to celebrate.

In this issue:

  • Research Voices: Truely Harding
  • New initiative: co-designing an implementation research network
  • Forthcoming report: co-designing research with integrity
  • Research outcomes: OL@-OR@ in action
  • Human and planetary health are connected

Research voices: Truely Harding

Truely Harding

Dr Truely Harding is on a mission to change the way that health professionals and researchers interact with Māori and Indigenous Peoples.  
Her recent doctoral research studies, as part of the He Pikinga Waiora project, emphasised that for Māori and Indigenous communities the process used for implementing new health programmes is just as important as the programme itself. 

Read how Truely’s life experiences have shaped her passion to make a difference for her whānau.   
Read more

New initiative: co-designing an implementation research network 

The Healthier Lives Science Leadership Team’s vision of a partnership with community providers recently took a big step forward when two virtual hui/fono were held to develop the parameters for an implementation research network to help reduce health inequities for Māori and Pacific communities.

Screenshot 2022 05 25 1.05.09 Pm

People from different parts of the health and research systems came together to discuss questions like: What are the key challenges in making an implementation research network successful? What should the network look like? What structures does it need? The rich kōrero over two days is providing the project leadership group* with plenty of food for thought as they develop a proposal for the next stage of this initiative – to establish the network and pilot the implementation of evidence-based health programmes.

Implementation research networks offer a way to support community providers to better meet the health needs of Māori, Pasifika and other under-served sections of the population.  We will provide updates on this initiative in future issues of this newsletter.

*Two members of the Healthier Lives SLT – Professor John Oetzel (University of Waikato) and Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu (University of Otago) – joined forces with two leaders of community-based service providers – Darrio Penetito-Hemara (Toi Tangata) and Akarere Henry (South Waikato Pacific Islands Community Services) – to form a leadership group for this project, which is co-funded by the Ministry of Health. 

Forthcoming report: co-designing research with integrity

Debbie Goodwin

Independent Māori researcher, Dr Debbie Goodwin (pictured right), recently evaluated the experience of five Healthier Lives research projects which used co-design as a central part of their methodology. 
Dr Goodwin’s evaluation draws on the experiences of the community- and university-based researchers who undertook the research, as well as the Māori and Pasifika health providers who partnered in it, to identify a number of key factors that contribute to the integrity of co-design processes. 

Dr Amohia Boulton

A report of the evaluation, co-authored by Dr Goodwin and Dr Amohia Boulton (pictured left Director, Whakaue Research and member of the Healthier Lives Governance Group and Kāhui Māori), conceptualises different levels of co-design and shares practical lessons about how to ensure the success of co-designed research.  We hope it will be useful to communities, health providers, researchers, and research funders alike.  

Coming soon (details in future issues of this newsletter): 

Co-designing health research in Aotearoa New Zealand: Lessons from the Healthier Lives–He Oranga Hauora National Science Challenge by Debbie Goodwin and Amohia Boulton

Ol@-Or@ in action

Ol@ Ol@

Tuifit NZ in South Auckland is using OL@-OR@ to support two of their fitness and physical wellbeing groups – the Big Men Unit and Tough Ladies Club.
OL@-OR@ is a culturally-tailored mHealth (smartphone app and website) programme, designed through a Healthier Lives collaboration between Māori and Pasifika health providers, communities and university researchers. 

This award-winning programme allows users to set goals for achieving positive lifestyle changes, invite whānau and friends to join them on their journey, and track progress as individuals and communities. 

Check out this video featuring Tuifit NZ and OL@-OR@ in action.

More information:
Tuifit NZ:

Human and planetary health are connected

Sustainable Foods

Radio New Zealand recently reported that the IPCC has warned Governments that a mass move to a vegan diet – without meat or animal products – is imperative for the survival of humanity.

Climate change: ‘Global veganisation is now a survival imperative’ – IPCC expert reviewer RNZ

Interviewed for this report, Vegan Society Aotearoa spokesperson Claire Insley cited an Otago University study from 2020 which showed savings to the health system of up to $20 billion (over the lifetime of the current population) if New Zealanders switched to a totally plant-based diet.
Healthier Lives has commissioned research, using the same modelling methods as used in the 2020 study, to estimate the greenhouse gas emissions and health impact of various low-meat diets, and to investigate the acceptability of such diets to our population.
Later this year, policymakers will have the first results from this research to draw on when considering how Aotearoa New Zealand can contribute to reducing the impact of climate change.

Read more

Research Opportunities

Māori Cancer Researcher Awards 2022

Te Kāhui Matepukupuku o Aotearoa (The Cancer Society) and Hei Āhuru Mōwai (Māori Cancer Leadership Aotearoa) are partnering to offer Masters and PhD Scholarships.

Researchers of Māori descent who are committed to hauora Māori, maximising Māori cancer health gains, and addressing existing cancer and health inequities are encouraged to apply.

Applications are due by Friday 26 August 2022

Māori Cancer Researcher Awards 2022 Cancer Society

Upcoming Events

New Zealand-China Non-Communicable Disease Research Cooperation Forum

Ncd Crcc

Registration is now open for the 3rd annual New Zealand–China Non-Communicable Disease Research Cooperation Forum, which will be held online on 5-6 July 2022.  

Keynote speakers Professor Michael Baker (University of Otago), a member of the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group, and Professor Yu WANG (Tsinghua University), the former Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, will talk about NCD research in the era of COVID-19. 

Other presentations will highlight research underway within three National Science Challenges – A Better Start, Healthier Lives and Ageing Well – in areas ranging from childhood obesity, diabetes, big data, cardiovascular disease, cancer, traditional medicine and brain science, with matched presentations from Chinese researchers on these topics. 

The main objective of the forum is to identify joint research programmes for future collaboration. Presentations from the government agencies (MBIE and MoST) will discuss opportunities for science and technology collaboration between the two countries. 

For more information about the programme and how to register, click here.

In the news

Can healthy food deliveries prevent a second heart attack?

Dr Andrew Reynolds (University of Otago), Healthier Lives Principal Investigator team member, is one of six Otago researchers to be granted a $150,000 Explorer Grant.
His project looks at whether providing healthy groceries to patients recovering from a heart attack is less expensive for the health system than the cost of providing future medical care.

Funding allocated to research ideas to improve NZers health RNZ (5m 47s)

Stroke survivors asked about care experience

Matire Harwood

Associate Professor Matire Harwood (University of Auckland), Healthier Lives Principal Investigator and science leadership team member, talks about findings from a study which asked stroke survivors about their experiences of the healthcare system.

Stroke survivors asked about care experience ODT

Free healthy lifestyle programme


The Canterbury-based lifestyle programme Puāwai-Kai, run by Pegasus Health NZ, is making a positive difference to the health of Pacific Peoples.
Healthier Lives researcher Dr Allamanda Faatoese (University of Otago, Christchurch), has measured the impact of this programme among Pacific Island groups, and found that even small changes in lifestyle can decrease the chances of developing diabetes and heart disease.

Free healthy lifestyle programme in Canterbury Newshub

Yes its possible to eat healthily on a budget Stuff

No Stomach for Cancer


Professor Parry Guildford (University of Otago), Healthier Lives Deputy Director, and Lyvianne Decourtye-Espiard have identified the drug Entinostat as a promising candidate for the chemoprevention of Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer through a grant funded by No Stomach For Cancer.

No Stomach for Cancer

Recent Publications

Brewer KM, Grey C, Paynter J, et al. What are the gaps in cardiovascular risk assessment and management in primary care for Māori and Pacific people in Aotearoa New Zealand? Protocol for a systematic review. BMJ Open 2022;12:e060145. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-060145

Mullane, T., Harwood, M., Warbrick, I. et al.Understanding the workforce that supports Māori and Pacific peoples with type 2 diabetes to achieve better health outcomes.BMC Health Serv Res 22,672 (2022). doi: 10.1186/s12913-022-08057-4

Firestone, R., Faeamani, G., Okiakama, E., Funaki, T., Henry, A., Prapaveissis, D., Filikitonga, J., Firestone, J., Tiatia-Seath, J., Matheson, A., Brown, B., Schleser, M., Kaholokula, J. K., Ing, C., Borman, B., & Ellison-Loschmann, L. (2021). Pasifika prediabetes youth empowerment programme: evaluating a co-designed community-based intervention from a participants’ perspectiveKōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online16(1), 210–224. doi: 10.1080/1177083x.2021.1876743

View our 2019-24 Research Strategy

He Pikinga Waiora Research Findings Brief

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