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Welcome to He Kitenga

Richard Blaikie banner

Monday 8 January 2018 12:30pm

Showcasing research from the University of Otago

The value of research is realised in the lives of the people it affects, the changes in the understanding of the world we live in, or the preservation and enhancement of our environment. At the University of Otago these outcomes – some of which can take many years or even generations to achieve – are at the core of our research philosophy.

In order to achieve such impact from our research we must focus on excellence first and foremost: if our work is not of the highest standard how can we expect high-quality outcomes? Excellence is a necessary – but not necessarily sufficient – condition for asking the taxpayers of New Zealand and other funders to support our efforts.

This edition of He Kitenga highlights leading research and scholarship at the University of Otago with a focus on excellence and, as the cover suggests, careful consideration of the domains of relevance where the work will produce long-term impact on:

  • H the health and well-being of people and communities
  • m the development, enhancement and use of mātauranga Māori research
  • $ boosting innovative and sustainable economic development
  • P advancements for Pacific peoples here in Aotearoa and within Pacific nations
  • e supporting resilience in our precious and unique environments
  • s ensuring we have a rich and dynamic society we can all be proud of.

These domains are not exclusive, so many of the stories we highlight have been marked as having multiple relevant pathways for impact. Our lead story, from our Distinguished Research Medallist, Professor Parry Guilford, is a fine case in point: questions about multigenerational cancer clusters in a Māori family became a breakthrough discovery that transformed the health and well-being of their whānau and many other similar families worldwide; related work has led to diagnostic tools for a range of other cancers that are being commercialised through a New Zealand biotech company; and follow-up collaborative work on the links between whakapapa, health, individual and community identities will help shape our future society.

Making lives better for people here in Aotearoa New Zealand and, indeed, around the world is a recurring theme in this book, from interventions to improve well-being in our communities, to work that will enable us to transition to a more resilient low-carbon future. We explore the impacts of the seismic environment in which we live and new technologies that have the potential to transform our world.

I trust you will appreciate the significance of the research we have chosen to highlight and that you will share the features with your friends and colleagues, wherever you may be.

Professor Richard Blaikie
Deputy Vice-Chancellor
(Research and Enterprise)