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Hauora Māori in policy and practise

Dr Reremoana Theodore

Moana - smilingExamine the work of Otago National Centre for Lifecourse Research’s Dr Reremoana (Moana) Theodore (Ngāpuhi, Te Arawa) and you’ll see two overarching themes deeply associated with Māori health and education.

Moana chooses research that aims to impact on policy and practice, and she focuses on longitudinal research examining experiences that affect Māori health and wellbeing over time. Her dedication has attracted Health Research Council funding, and she is currently a HRC Erihapeti Rehu-Murchie Research Fellow.

Moana says she is primarily distributing her time between two projects.

“My colleagues and I have spent the last couple of years doing community research in collaboration with Te Pou Tiringa in New Plymouth. Te Pou Tiringa is the governance body of Te Kōpae Piripono, an early childhood education and whānau development programme. We’re looking at the programme’s impact on positive health and wellbeing outcomes for tamariki and whānau.

“The research has attracted initial funding from the Health Research Council and the NZ Council for Educational Research. The aim is to help build an evidence base in and around solutions or programmes from Māori communities that have a positive effect on tamariki and their families throughout the lifecourse.”

Moana’s other major project involves the Graduate Longitudinal Study New Zealand (GLSNZ) which began in 2011 and surveyed approximately one third of all potential graduates, who were in their final year of study, from the eight New Zealand universities.

“We’re following them for 10 years post-graduation,” Moana says. “I’m an investigator in the study, and my research focuses on the Māori graduates. So far we have looked at what they’ve studied, their university experiences, where they want to go and what they want to do post-graduation.

“Overall, the aim is to look at the value of a New Zealand education over time. With Māori, we’re not only looking at the benefits of education for themselves as graduates (e.g. their careers, their health and wellbeing), but also the benefits to their whānau, their communities and society more broadly.

“The GLSNZ is of interest to policy makers and to universities; providing information on how to support Māori students and Māori futures.”