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Suzanne Pitama imageDean and Head of Campus

MA(Auck) PhD(Otago) PGDipEdPsych(Massey) MNZPsS


MIHI (Māori/Indigenous Health Institute)
School of Medicine and Health Sciences,
University of Otago, Christchurch.
PO Box 4345,

About Suzanne Pitama (Ngāti Kahungunu)

Suzanne is a registered educational psychologist. She has extensive experience in Māori health research and health education.

Suzanne is focussed on addressing Māori health inequities through medical education, health research (including mental health and heart health) and through membership on appropriate committees and boards (including the HRC Board and Australian Medical Council).

Suzanne's PhD focused on the design, implementation and impact of indigenous health curricula within medical schools. Suzanne is the Otago Medical School Hauora Māori faculty representative and is a member of the MBChB curriculum committee and Chairs the Hauora Māori sub-committee.

Suzanne also contributes to the MIHI post-graduate short courses that support the professional development of health professionals in the Hui Process and Meihana Model.


Undergraduate medical curriculum

Postgraduate short courses

  • MIHI RMO 301
  • MIHI 501 Clin Psych
  • MIHI 601 Clin Psych
  • MIHI 501 Health Professionals

Research interests

  • Hauora Māori – Māori Health
  • Effects of Adoption Practices on Mental Health
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Severe Behaviour in childhood and adolescence
  • MoDCONZ – Modelling disease and cancer outcomes in New Zealand

Professional activities

  • Educational Psychologist
  • Suzanne Pitama is the Haura Māori representative on the Faculty of Medicine Curriculum Committee


Pitama, S., Haitana, T., Patu, M., Robson, B., Harris, R., McKerchar, C., Clark, T., & Crengle, S. (2024). Toitū Te Tiriti. New Zealand Medical Journal/Te ara tika o te hauora hapori, 137(1589), 7-11. Retrieved from

Landers, A., Pitama, S. G., Green, S. C., & Beckert, L. (2023). ‘People that suffer or have been through it know the answers’: Stakeholders’ perspectives on improving healthcare systems for end-of-life care in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. BMC Health Services Research, 23, 1443. doi: 10.1186/s12913-023-10431-9

Keelan, K., Pitama, S., Wilkinson, T., & Lacey, C. (2023). ‘It’s about having that knowledge, tino rangatiratanga!’ Understanding structural barriers to accessing aged residential care services among older Māori in New Zealand. Kōtuitui. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/1177083X.2023.2284132

Keelan, K., Pitama, S., Wilkinson, T., & Lacey, C. (2023). It's not special treatment… That's part of the Treaty of Waitangi! Organisational barriers to enhancing the aged residential care environment for older Māori and whānau in New Zealand. International Journal of Health Planning & Management. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/hpm.3734

Clark, M. T. R., Manuel, J., Lacey, C., Pitama, S., Cunningham, R., & Jordan, J. (2023). ‘E koekoe te Tūī, e ketekete te Kākā, e kuku te Kererū, The Tūī chatters, the Kākā cackles, and the Kererū coos’: Insights into explanatory factors, treatment experiences and recovery for Māori with eating disorders: A qualitative study. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/00048674231207583

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