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Kōhatu Centre for Hauora Māori is a centre for teaching and research excellence in Hauora Māori. The Kōhatu team is involved in teaching hauora Māori within Health Sciences, Medicine, and Dentistry.

Our research sets out to improve Māori health outcomes and challenge inequities within our health and education systems.

Within Kōhatu, the Raukaha team, which includes the Māori Health Workforce Development Unit and the Socio-Economic Equity Project ( EQ project), supports Māori tauira and all students from decile 1–3 schools to succeed in Health Sciences study through a range of tailored programmes.


The Kōhatu whānau bring a diverse range of expertise in hauora Māori and health equity to our teaching spaces. Our teaching pedagogy is underpinned by the concept of Ako, which emphasises the reciprocal process of teaching and learning within te ao Māori . We draw on Māori values, mātauranga Māori, and our expertise as Māori health professionals to support tauira to engage with Māori patients and their whānau. We see education as a pathway to improve health outcomes for our whānau, hapū and iwi .


The vision of the research whānau at Kōhatu is to drive equity in health and education, and lead transformational change that is centred in mana motuhake and tino rangatiratanga. Members of the team share a broad range of research interests including Māori health workforce development, health and education, equity and health systems and structures. Our research focuses on aligning policy and practice to te Tiriti o Waitangi and achieving equitable outcomes.

The Kōhatu research team has opportunities to support students to grow their research capacity. These include:

  • Summer studentships
  • BMedSci
  • Honours
  • Dental and medical electives
  • Masters'
  • PhD
  • Post-doc

“Being based in Kōhatu for postgraduate study has been exciting and inspiring, the team are very supportive of me and my research.”

– Emily Bain (PhD / )

Our people

Associate Professor Esther Willing

Esther Willing imageKaiwhakahaere matua | Director

Dr Esther Willing (Ngāti Toarangatira, Ngāti Koata, Ngā Ruahine) is an Associate Professor in Hauora Māori and the Director of Kōhatu Centre for Hauora Māori. Her research interests include health policy and health systems research and she is passionate about improving Māori health outcomes and addressing health inequities in Aotearoa.

She currently is involved in research on immunisation uptake and coverage for hapu māmā and tamariki, guidelines for prioritising intensive care resources to support equity and discourse and framing of Māori health.

Professor Peter Crampton

Peter Crampton imageAhorangi | Professor Public Health

Nō Ingarangi me Aerana ōku tūpuna. I whānaunau mai au i Ingarangi, ā, i tipu ake au i Ingarangi me Whakatū. Nō reira he Pākehā ahau. Ināianei ko te ūkaipō ko Ōtepoti, kei reira titrotiro kau au ki te hīrangatanga o te tahatū o te rangi o Ōtākou kei reira ngā tūpuna o te hau kāinga e kēkeke ana.

Peter is a professor of public health. He researches and teaches Māori health, health systems and public health. His academic career has spanned a variety of roles including serving as Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Health Sciences and Dean of the Otago Medical School. His research is focused on social indicators and social epidemiology, health care policy, health care organisation and funding, and Māori health. He sits on the board of the Health Quality and Safety Commission and on the Public Health Advisory Committee. He is married to Alison Douglass and has two adult sons, and enjoys mountain biking, walking and planting trees.

Dr Kura Lacey

Kura Lacey imagePūkenga | Lecturer Hauora Māori
Faculty of Dentistry Hauora Māori lead

Dr Kura Lacey (Te Arawa, Ngāruahine) grew up in Rotorua and Hāwera and works as a lecturer in Hauora Māori, working across both Kōhatu and the Faculty of Dentistry. She is a dentist and teaches in to the dental public health papers at the Faculty of Dentistry, where she is leading out on the Hauora Māori curriculum. Her research interests include oral health policy, oral health inequities and oral health systems, and she is also interested in work involving growing the Māori oral health workforce. She is an executive member of Te Ao Mārama (the Aotearoa Māori Dental Association), and has strong relationships with many Māori dentists, oral health therapists and Māori health providers. Outside of mahi , she enjoys spending time with her whānau and daughter Olive and sweating up a storm at the gym.

Witana Petley

Tana Petley imagePūkenga | Lecturer Hauora Māori
Advanced Learning in Medicine (ALM) convener

Ko Mauao me Hikurangi ngā maunga
Ko Waipahu te awa
Ko Tauranga te moana
Ko taakitimu me Horouta ngā waka
He uri noa ahau ki Ngaiterangi, Ngāti Ranginui me Ngāti Porou hoki.
Ko piriakau me te whanau a tūwhakairiora ngā Hapu
No Putaruru ahau
Ko Witana
Petley tōku ingoa
Ko Pukenga o Hauora Māori toku mahi engari ko kaikōmiri ahau.

Tana is a descendant of Ngāiterangi, Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāti porou and comes from Putaruru in the South Waikato. He has a background in physiotherapy, with interests in neurological rehabilitation, cultural safety and hauora Māori. He teachers in to the Advanced Learning in Medicine years at the Dunedin School of Medicine, and convenes the hauora Māori vertical module. He has been involved in panels, committees and executive boards that work to improve health equity and equality for Māori in Physiotherapy and the allied health workforce; including being the current Tūmuaki of Tae Ora Tinana (The Māori Physiotherapy Association). His research interests are in Māori health and cultural safety. He collaborates with other departments on projects such as reviewing cultural safety and responsiveness training for clinical supervisors.

T.J. Tūī Kent

T.J. Tūī Kent imageKai whakahaere tari hauora Māori | Hauora Māori administrator

Ko Kāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha te Iwi. Ko Ōtākou me Kāti Huirapa ki Puketeraki te marae.

Tūī has worked since 1995 at Te Whare Wānanga o Otago and in the Division of Health Sciences since 2009 as the Hauora Māori Administrator. Tūī leads administration for the Kōhatu Centre for Hauora Māori within the Dunedin School of Medicine and the Otago Medical School.

Dr Liza Edmonds

Liza Edmonds imagePūkenga Matua | Clinical Senior Lecturer Hauora Māori

Liza is a Neonatal Paediatrician at Te Whatu Ora and a Senior Clinical Lecturer within Kōhatu at the Dunedin School of Medicine. Liza has worked in roles within the Southern rohe, including clinical Neonatology, General Paediatrics and research in perinatal health and wellbeing. She is the mother of 3 teenagers and is married to a tāne from Oamaru, and enjoys being part of her wider whānau and community.

Sharnee Diamond

Kaiwhakaako | Teaching FellowSharnee Diamond image

Sharnee Diamond hails from the beautiful Te Tai Tokerau and whakapapa to Ngāti Wai, Ngāpuhi, and Ngāti Raukawa. She is an Oral Health therapist, contributing her expertise both in clinical practice at Community Oral Health Services and in supporting the delivery of Hauora Māori here at Kōhatu. As an executive member of Te Ao Mārama (Māori Dental Association), Sharnee is committed to addressing oral health disparities among Māori communities, both on the ground and at a strategic level. Her primary focus involves educating the oral health workforce about the specific needs of our people, ensuring a culturally safe space for whanau to engage with. Outside of mahi, Sharnee is attempting to perfect Tui’s famous dip recipe, or walking one of the beautiful tracks of Ōtepoti.

Gabrielle McDonald

Gabrielle McDonald imageSenior Research Fellow

Pākehā, Tāmaki Makaurau

Gabrielle is a public health physician with an interest in child and adolescent health. Much of her research has to date centred around mortality review and systems and structures that contribute to inequitable outcomes. Gabrielle is currently completing a PhD examining opportunities to increase the preventive function of coroners' recommendations. She is the mother of three gorgeous children and loves to spend time outdoors.

Howard Maxwell

Howard Maxwell imageScientific Officer for Māori Health Advancement

Ko Maungarangi, Ōtukani me Hikurangi ngā maunga
Ko Otara, Mōtu me Waiapu ngā awa
Ko Mātaatua me Horouta ngā waka
Ko Whakatōhea, Te Whānau ā Apanui me Ngāti Porou ngā iwi
Ko Ngāti Ngāhere, Ngāti Horomoana me Ngāti Uepohatu ngā hapū
Ko Terere, Maraenui me Mangahanea ngā Marae
Nō Ōpōtiki ahau
Howard Maxwell tōku ingoa

Howard is from Ōpōtiki and has recently completed his PhD in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, which focused on the regulation of bacterial CRISPR-Cas systems. He is now the Scientific Officer for Māori Health Advancement in the Division of Health Sciences. He sees research as a powerful tool to create real change for Māori communities. His role is to assist academics within the Division to develop their research in a manner that is responsive to Māori aspirations, and meets the expectations of Vision Mātauranga and Māori Health Advancement.

Contact us

Kōhatu Centre for Hauora Māori
71 Frederick St
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

Tel +64 3 479 4878

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