Participant Information

Invitation to participate


The reason for this research is to record the stories of women medical graduates and recognise them as a valuable part of our cultural history. These narratives will be lost over time unless they are preserved in an enduring form. An electronic record of the lived experiences of a wide range of early New Zealand medical women will be a permanent inspirational historical work, able to be accessed by their families as well as current and future medical graduates.

The research goal is to collate as many stories as possible from women who graduated from Otago Medical School between 1896 and 1967. We want to source these stories from the women themselves or, if the women are not able to be involved, their family members. We plan to create a website as a public repository of the stories.


This project will continue for two years.


This research may not benefit you directly. However, we expect that the stories from this project will provide valuable learning and have the potential to be a rich resource for anyone with an interest in women in medicine.


We recognised that a risk associated with this research may be sadness from reflecting on the past and from speaking about loved ones. If you become concerned about sad feelings after talking about your life or that of your relative, please contact us so we can put you in touch with appropriate support services. Alternatively you can make direct contact with a community organisation such as LifeLine 0800 543 354.


This project has received a small grant from the Maurice and Phyllis Paykel Trust to help with research costs. You will not be paid to be involved in this project.

Why have I been asked to participate?

You are invited to participate in this research because either you are a women graduating from Otago medicine before 1968, or you knew one of the women graduating from Otago medicine before 1968.

How did you locate me?

To find potential participants, such as yourself, we have advertised in national newspapers and on radio inviting you to contact us. We have also contacted people through organisations such as the National Council of Women, Otago Medical School Alumnus Association and the New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women.  Alternatively, we may have searched for your contact details online and sent you a letter or email inviting you to contact us if you would like to participate.

Voluntary participation

Your participation is voluntary (your choice) and you may decline this invitation to participate. If you agree to participate and then change your mind, you may withdraw from the project by contacting Cindy Farquhar:; or phone +64 (0)27 4757 917. You do not have to give a reason.

What does my participation involve?

Short questionnaire

Initially your participation would involve completing a preliminary questionnaire, which asks very basic information about your/her life. The questionnaire can be completed via our website, or downloaded and returned to us as an email attachment to Cindy Farquhar If you received it in paper format, it can be posted back in the enclosed self-addressed envelope. This questionnaire invites you to also be involved in the next step of the research, which would involve an interview.

By completing this questionnaire you are consenting to this information being used by the research team. Further consent will be obtained if you agree to an interview.


As part of our research we are interested in historical photos from people’s private collections. These will be published on the website of biographies, and/or on the University of Auckland website, and/or deposited within the New Zealand archive. If you have photos you want to provide this can be indicated in the questionnaire, by contacting the researchers, or during the interview process. We will obtain your consent for their use at the time. This consent will be for yourself or your relative. Where there are other people in the photo we will only directly identify by name those people for whom consent has been obtained. Providing photos is entirely voluntary and you may choose to withdraw the use of your photos before publication. You do not have to give a reason.


If you choose to participate in the interview, you will be asked to share with us any stories of your/her life. The interview will take place at a location that is convenient to you and where you feel comfortable. The expected time commitment from you for this will be one to two hours. An audio recording will be made of the interview and information from this will be incorporated into a written document by one of the researchers. You are welcome to bring a friend or member of family or whānau to the interview if you choose. You can choose to withdraw from the interview at any time.

We would like to edit and publish these stories in an electronic form that would be widely available online. Before publication, you will be contacted with your story in the format it will be published, to review it and to approve the details and the editing that may have taken place. We will also ask you if you agree to have an audio recording on the website as part of the biography. A book of biographies may also be published eventually and we are also asking your approval for this part of the project.

Data Storage, Retention, Destruction and Future Use

We will collect the data until the end of 2017. It will be stored for six years as required by University regulations. The interview data will be written up and stored on a password-protected University of Auckland computer and eventually placed on the website with your signed permission. We hope to maintain the website indefinitely as long as funding is available. There is also the possibility of a book being prepared. The audio record will be destroyed unless you agree to have it available on the website and/or submitted to an archive.


The information on the website will reflect this participant information sheet which will also be able to be downloaded.

Right to Withdraw from Participation

You have the right to withdraw from the interview at any time without giving a reason, and you can withdraw your interview recording anytime up to publication.


Due to the nature of this historical research the researchers will know the names of those involved (participants, their family members and friends). In keeping with the celebratory nature of this project it is expected that the name of individuals will be used in the website and/or book to acknowledge their involvement in this history. However if you choose not to have your name referenced on the website or in the book every effort will be made to protect your confidentiality. This will be by not publishing your name or other identifying details. We will also provide you with a copy of what we have written before it is published on the website or in print and ensure you are happy with the content.


Researcher name: Professor Cindy Farquhar
Address: Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Auckland
Telephone: +64 27 475 7917

All participants are welcome to involve whānau/Māori consultation.

The Māori advisory person in this project is Dr Sue Crengle.

For any queries regarding ethical concerns, you may contact the Chair, The University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee.

Address: The University of Auckland, Research Office, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142
Telephone: +64 9 373 7599 ext. 83711

Participant Information
(184.4 kB, PDF)

Approved by the University Of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (UAHPEC) on 14 June 2016 for three years. Reference Number 016689.