Newsletter Two
13 July 2015
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Tōmaiora Pānui

Tōmaiora Māori Health Research Group Newsletter Two, June 2015

In this Issue:

Celebrating Success: Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga CoRE funding

We are thrilled with the announcement by the Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (Hon Steven Joyce) and the Tertiary Education Commission that Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga has received funding for five years via the Centres of Research Excellence (CoRE) funding round.

Associate Professor Papaarangi Reid (our Tumuaki) is the co-leader with Associate Professor Linda Waimarie Nikora from The University of Waikato on the Mauri Ora theme of the Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga re-bid. The new CoRE is proposed to start in January 2016.



Visit from Professor Colin Mantell

Associate Professor Papaarangi Reid and Professor Colin Mantell
From left: Associate Professor Papaarangi Reid and Professor Colin Mantell

Some of you will recognise Professor Mantell, who popped in for a visit last month.

Colin (Ngai Tahu) spent 22 years at The University of Auckland as a clinician and researcher, focused on obstetrics and health of women and children and Māori health. He led MAPAS (the Māori and Pacific Admissions Scheme) from 1974 and occupied many positions including Head of Department in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Māori and Pacific Health and Tumuaki.

Colin led research centres including the Centre for Reproductive Health and Tōmaiora. He served on the Health Research Council and chaired the Māori Health committee for many years.

He chaired the Māori Advisory Committee for the Vice Chancellor from 1983-1987 and played an important role in establishing Waipapa marae. Colin has now ‘retired’ to Ngai Tahu and lives with his wife in Wanaka.


Tōmaiora Research Projects

A kaupapa Māori intervention for stroke-related communication disorders

Members of Ngai Tamahaua hapū welcoming Dr Karen Brewer, her whānau and Speech Science colleagues.
Members of Ngai Tamahaua hapū welcoming Dr Karen Brewer, her whānau and Speech Science colleagues.

Karen Brewer (Whakatōhea, Ngaiterangi) leads this exciting project after being awarded one of the premier health research scholarships - the Health Research Council Eru Pōmare Research Fellowship in Māori Health – in 2013.

Karen is one of only a handful of Maori speech-language therapists working with people who have had stroke in Aotearoa.  Through writing her PhD on aphasia (a language disorder often caused by stroke), Karen found stroke to be a problem for many Māori whānau, made considerably harder by speech or language issues. Through her Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Māori Health she intends to create a speech-language therapy resource especially for Māori whānau with communication disorders caused by stroke.

The research project, which started just over a year ago, has involved people with stroke, whānau members, speech-language therapists as well as Stroke Foundation Community Stroke Advisors in Northland, Auckland and Bay of Plenty. Participants have been able to share their stories of stroke, their suggestions regarding what to include in the resource and ideas to improve stroke rehabilitation for Māori whānau. The next step for Karen will be to design and create the resource.

Before beginning the research in rural Bay of Plenty, Karen, her whānau and colleagues were welcomed onto her marae, Opape, in Ōpōtiki. It was Karen’s first time participating in a pōwhiri at Opape, her whānau only recently having discovered connections to this marae. In this homecoming Ngai Tamahaua hapū acknowledged Karen’s doctorate, which she gained in September 2014. Karen presented a copy of the thesis to the hapū and spoke about the postdoctoral research.

Ngā mihi nui to everyone who have supported Karen and her mahi including research assistant Te Whawhai Taki, kaumātua Mr Te Riaki Amoamo and Mrs Bobette Turetahi and the Ngai Tamahaua hapū komiti.


Featured Article

McLellan, K. M., McCann, C. M., Worrall, L. E., & Harwood, M. L. N. (2014). Māori experiences of aphasia therapy: “But I'm from Hauiti and we've got shags”. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 16(5), 529-540.

In this study Karen Brewer (née McLellan) interviewed Māori with aphasia (a language disorder caused by stroke) and their whānau about speech-language therapy. The article conveys both positive and negative experiences described by whānau as part of the therapy.  Positive experiences included good relationships with their speech-language therapist and motivating therapy activities. Whānau described negative experiences such as speech-language therapists not recognising their language or worldview.

The research emphasises the importance of good therapeutic relationships. Māori in this study described in particular the benefits of the clinician appreciating the worldview of whānau, the right environment for therapy and good quality therapy resources. If you would like a free copy of this article email



Whānau experiences of the diagnosis and management of Acute Rheumatic Fever for Māori children in Te Tai Tokerau, Aotearoa

Dr Anneka Anderson
Dr Anneka Anderson

Funded by the University of Auckland Faculty Research Development Fund, the Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF) project was led by Dr Anneka Anderson (Kāi Tahu/Kāti Māmoe). Anneka is a Lecturer at Te Kupenga Hauora Māori and mother to Lachlan and Caden Te Whata MacDonald. She is interested in Māori experiences of health and things that shape Māori health and well-being.

Dr Clair Mills from Northland District Health Board is a co-investigator on this project. Clair is a public health physician, the Medical Officer of Health for Northland District Health Board and honorary member of the Tōmaiora Research Group. Clair has an interest in rheumatic fever and child health inequities. She has recently returned from Sierra Leone where she was helping in the fight against Ebola.

The study was a qualitative kaupapa Māori research project about whānau experiences of rheumatic fever and/or rheumatic heart disease. The study, which took place in Te Tai Tokerau, included 10 Māori whānau with rheumatic fever and/or heart disease. The researchers spent time interviewing each whānau about their ARF experiences.

Findings from this research showed that ARF had an impact on whānau’s finances, employment and education and resulted in emotional, social and economic stress. Such stress was reduced with whānau support as well as good rapport, communication and continuity of care with healthcare professionals.

Participants shared their experiences with health promotion campaigns, media coverage and in some cases, health professionals linking higher rates of ARF amongst Māori with cultural processes.  Many internalised this deficit-focus, which was a source of conflict that made them more anxious. Whānau also experienced health service-related discrimination and racism, which were found to be barriers to improving ARF outcomes.

With the project now completed, the researchers are preparing to present their findings to Northland District Health Board as well as recommendations on how health care services for rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in Northland could be improved.  These include an integrated support service for ARF prevention and care that promotes youth and whānau centered approaches.  They will also recommend cultural safety training with a greater emphasis on whakawhanaugatanga between health practitioners and clients as well as health promotion campaigns that target the underlying structural causes of ARF instead of ethnicity and behaviour.


Te Hā. Vision 20: 20: Exploring predictors of success

Dr Elana Taipapaki Curtis
Dr Elana Taipapaki Curtis

Dr Elana Taipapaki Curtis (Te Arawa) is a Public Heath Physician and Senior Lecturer within Te Kupenga Hauora Māori and the Director of the Vision 20:20 programme. She is currently completing her Doctorate of Medicine exploring indigenous and ethnic minority health workforce development.

The Vision 20: 20 programme is committed to increasing the proportion of Māori and Pacific health professionals to 10% of the health workforce by the year 2020. Under Elana’s leadership, Te Hā is investigating predictors for Māori and Pacific students failure or success in the health education programmes at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences (FMHS). 

Te Hā includes sub-projects such as:

MAP (MAPAS Admission Process):  MAPAS (Māori and Pacific Admissions Scheme) provides support for Māori and Pacific students to enter and do well in, foundation and undergraduate programmes within the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.

TCA (Total Cohort Analysis): Exploring predictors for Māori and Pacific student success or failure compared to non-Māori non Pacific students studying in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences undergraduate programmes.

You can read more about Elana’s work in a recently-published article:

Curtis, E., Wikaire, E., Jiang, Y., McMillan, L., Loto, R., Airini, & Reid, P. (2015). A tertiary approach to improving equity in health: quantitative analysis of the Maori and Pacific Admission Scheme (MAPAS) process, 2008-2012. International Journal for Equity in Health, 14(1), 7.

This article is freely available online at


Student Spotlight

Dr Jade Tamatea and her daughter Te Paea
From left: Dr Jade Tamatea and her daughter Te Paea

Jade Tamatea (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Kahungunu) grew up in the Waikato before studying medicine at the University of Auckland. She first worked as a junior doctor in Rotorua before deciding on a career in internal medicine. Now based in the Waikato, Jade has trained to be a physician and attained the status of Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, specialising in endocrinology and diabetes.

Jade has always had a passion for working in the field of Māori health and sees advocacy for Māori within the hospital system as important. Never one to settle, she now has branched out of her comfort zone of clinical work into research. She is currently developing her skills as a researcher through the University of Auckland, undertaking a PhD looking at thyrotoxicosis and its impact on Māori. She sees Kaupapa Māori Research philosophies as a way to keep her quantitative clinical research pono within an environment that does not usually value Māori knowledge and ways of knowing. Her supervisor, Associate Professor Papaarangi Reid and advisor, Dr Matire Harwood keep Jade focussed on both asking and answering the right questions. They give invaluable guidance to her and to her research.

Having returned to the Waikato to live, she enjoys the support of her wider whānau, her supportive and tireless husband ‘Etuini and their two beautiful and talented children, Te Paea and Lisiate.


Upcoming postgraduate course in Te Kupenga Hauora Māori Semester 2, 2015

MĀORIHTH 709 – Transformational Research for Māori Health

This course provides a critical analysis of research and research processes with regard to their potential to colonise or liberate. Drawing on Kaupapa Māori Theory, the course examines how research can be undertaken in ways that are safe for Māori and that contribute to positive Māori development.

Course coordinator: Dr Donna Cormack


Tōmaiora Seminars

The May Tōmaiora Seminar ‘Kaupapa Maori Evaluation - Culturally Responsive Evaluation Practice’ was presented by Dr Fiona Cram. Below is some information about Fiona and her presentation.  You can view this seminar via our website

The next Tōmaiora seminar will be held on 16  June and presented by Dr David Mayeda


Kaupapa Maori Evaluation - Culturally Responsive Evaluation Practice


Fiona has tribal affiliations to Ngāti Pahauwera on the east coast of Aotearoa New Zealand. Fiona is currently Director of Katoa Ltd, a Kaupapa Māori research organisation that offers a range of research services including research and evaluation, project management, research training and mentoring, data analysis and report writing. Fiona is also Associate Māori Development at the Centre for Social Impact, a subsidiary company of Foundation North, focusing on supporting high engagement philanthropy.


Kaupapa Māori (i.e., a Māori way) takes for granted the right of Māori to be Māori; treasures Māori language and culture; and upholds and facilitates Māori control over Māori aspirations and destiny. Kaupapa Māori evaluation embeds these philosophies within evaluation practice to enable culturally responsive assessments of Māori and Iwi programmes and services. An important aspect of Kaupapa Māori evaluation is respectful dialogue across disciplinary and method/ological boundaries to ensure mutual understandings and good science in the service of a Māori kaupapa. In this way Kaupapa Māori evaluation seeks to inform and promote real solutions that will facilitate Māori wellbeing and societal transformation.

This seminar begins by exploring the interface between Kaupapa Māori Evaluation and Culturally Responsive Evaluation, before considering Kaupapa Māori evaluation practice. Examples of Kaupapa Māori evaluations will be drawn upon to consider issues such as engagement with stakeholders, the role of theory, choice of methods, measuring success, and evaluation use.


Our Editors

The editors of Tōmaiora Pānui are Dr Karen Brewer and Bronwyn Bay.

Karen Brewer (Whakatōhea, Ngaiterangi) is a speech-language therapist. She has just graduated with a PhD from the University of Auckland. Karen started work in Tōmaiora in April 2014. Her mahi is to design and trial a kaupapa Māori speech-language therapy resource for whānau with communication difficulties caused by stroke. Karen is married to Gavin and lives in East Auckland.

Bronwyn Bay is the Group Services Administrator in Te Kupenga Hauora Māori. Bronwyn has a Bachelor of Communications Studies from AUT University and has experience in working in both radio and internet companies in event coordination and administrative roles.


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Contact us

Tōmaiora Pānui
Feedback or questions about the Tōmaiora Pānui can
be directed to: Karen Brewer

Tōmaiora Research Group

Director of Tōmaiora: Matire Harwood

Group Services Administrator: Ann Dawson

The newsletter is available here to download as PDF:

About Tōmaiora

Tōmaiora is the research arm of Te Kupenga Hauora Māori. Established in 1997 and based at the Tāmaki Campus in Glen Innes, Tōmaiora aims to be a thriving kaupapa Māori research unit within The Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.

Our vision is to be Leaders in Excellent Māori Health Research. This is further strengthened by our Whakatauki: Rapua Te Mea Ngaro "Seek the Evidence" gifted by our kaumātua and kuia.

For more information about us and what we do, check out our website: