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Pūranga karere

New Vice-Chancellor appointed at University of Otago

Thursday 1 July 2021

The University of Otago announced this morning that Professor David Murdoch will be its next Vice-Chancellor. Professor Murdoch, a distinguished academic and recognised world-leader in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, particularly pneumonia and other respiratory infections, is currently Dean and Head of Campus, University of Otago, Christchurch.

Shining a light on the shocking state of NZ’s acute mental health units

Wednesday 16 June 2021

A series published by news and current affairs website Newsroom highlights the findings of a major research project led by Director of the Suicide and Mental Health Research Group Dr Gabrielle Jenkin into the architectural design and social environment of New Zealand’s acute mental health facilities.

Otago projects receive $1.64m Health Research Council funding

Monday 31 May 2021

Better outcomes for women suffering from New Zealand’s most common gynaecological cancer and a bioactive toothpaste that will mean fewer visits to the dentist are just two University of Otago projects funded by the Health Research Council this week.

New Zealand housing lacking basic amenities, new report finds

Thursday 13 May 2021

Five per cent of New Zealand houses lack at least one of six basic amenities including drinkable tap water, electricity, a toilet, and a kitchen sink, a new report from the He Kāinga Oranga Housing and Health Research Programme at the University of Otago, Wellington has found.

Investigating epilepsy in Māori

Wednesday 5 May 2021

Understanding the reasons behind the higher burden of epilepsy experienced by Māori children is the focus of a Health Research Council (HRC) funded research project at the University of Otago, Wellington, led by PhD student and paediatric registrar Dr Ngaire Keenan.

Summer research

Tuesday 27 April 2021

Forty-five students from across the University have taken part in research projects on the Wellington campus over summer, tacking a wide range of projects, from researching green transport solutions to working with the Ministry of Health contributing to research on the COVID-19 response.

He Kete Kōrero – Autumn 2021

Tuesday 27 April 2021

Welcome to the Autumn 2021 edition of He Kete Kōrero with the latest news from the Wellington campus.

Researchers welcome Smokefree 2025 Action Plan

Thursday 15 April 2021

Researchers from the University of Otago’s ASPIRE 2025 Research Centre, which carries out research to support the Smokefree 2025 goal, have welcomed and endorsed the action plan for achieving a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025 released by Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall today.

Silver linings in lockdown

Wednesday 7 April 2021

Two thirds of New Zealanders believed there were ‘silver linings’ to the country’s Alert Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown imposed in March last year, a University of Otago survey has found.

Honest answers, clear communication valued by pregnant patients

Tuesday 23 March 2021

Clear, honest communication and a good rapport with doctors are key factors in the high levels of satisfaction reported by patients with high risk pregnancies following consultation with specialist obstetricians, researchers at the University of Otago, Wellington, have found.

Pump up the volume on quality school PE, researchers urge

Friday 12 March 2021

Increasing the amount of time schools devote to physical education each week could dramatically reduce the number of children who are doing only minimal levels of exercise, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington and Sport New Zealand have found.

We must have a better plan for the next pandemic, say Otago researchers

Wednesday 10 March 2021

Aotearoa New Zealand’s next pandemic plan needs a completely different approach to our previous plan that was focussed on influenza, say researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington in a new article that identifies key lessons from the COVID-19 response for managing future major outbreaks and pandemics.

Women supporting women in making change to energy poverty

Thursday 18 February 2021

When Dr Kim O’Sullivan returned to her high school to speak with students as part of her post-doctoral research; it was the beginning of a new chapter for (then) high school student Isobel Harris Clark.

Otago launches Medical Students’ Elective Inquiry

Wednesday 10 February 2021

The University of Otago is launching a formal inquiry into sixth year Medical Degree electives following failure to meet attendance requirements for overseas electives by a significant number of students in the 2019 MB ChB Trainee Intern Class.

Targeted health messaging needed in era of vaping, researchers say

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Health authorities should develop targeted health messages for vaping product and e-liquid packaging to encourage smokers to switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes and to prevent non-smokers from taking up vaping, a researcher at the University of Otago, Wellington says.

Ones to Watch: Rebekah Amitrano

Wednesday 27 January 2021

“I’ve known for a long time that I want to do something that helps people and I decided law was a way of helping many people at once.”

He Kete Kōrero – Summer 2020

Wednesday 16 December 2020

Welcome to the Summer 2020 edition of He Kete Kōrero, with the latest news from the Wellington campus.

Marsden Grants for Wellington research

Monday 14 December 2020

Three researchers at the University of Otago, Wellington, have received grants from the Marsden Fund to conduct research into topics ranging from tissue grafting to youth substance use to energy use in a warming world.

Travel Medicine in a time of COVID

Thursday 3 December 2020

With COVID-19 vaccines now on the horizon, a travel doctor and convenor of the travel medicine programme at the University of Otago, Wellington, is urging general practice staff to undertake further study to upgrade their travel medicine skills.

Significant psychological toll from COVID-19 lockdown

Thursday 5 November 2020

Research published today has confirmed the nationwide Alert Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown had a significant toll on New Zealanders’ well-being, especially for younger people – but the results were not all negative.

Eliminating COVID-19: what the world can learn from NZ and Taiwan

Thursday 22 October 2020

Both Taiwan and New Zealand have successfully eliminated COVID-19 with world-leading pandemic responses. By taking a particularly proactive approach, Taiwan’s response was probably the most effective and least disruptive of any country’s, researchers say.

Otago appoints new head of External Engagement

Wednesday 14 October 2020

Leading historian Professor Tony Ballantyne, FRSNZ, has accepted a new role at the University of Otago as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement), effective from next year.

Otago’s first female Vice-Chancellor to leave after a decade

Thursday 8 October 2020

The University of Otago announced this afternoon that Professor Harlene Hayne is leaving her role as Vice-Chancellor in April 2021.  Professor Hayne has been appointed to the role of Vice-Chancellor at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia.

Self-harm content on Instagram: “self-harm or self-help?”

Wednesday 23 September 2020

Instagram users who post self-harm content online are choosing ambiguous hashtags in an attempt to circumvent the social media platform’s ban on harmful content, a researcher at the University of Otago, Wellington, has found.

Funding success for Otago in 2020 Health Research Council grants

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Ten University of Otago proposals have been awarded funding through the Health Research Council’s (HRC) new Health Delivery Research Investment round. The 32 research grants are the first of two funding announcements for the HRC’s new Health Delivery Research portfolio.

He Kete Kōrero – Spring 2020

Monday 24 August 2020

Welcome to the Spring 2020 edition of He Kete Kōrero with the latest news from the Wellington campus.

Otago scientists secure more than $26m for health research

Tuesday 30 June 2020

University of Otago, Wellington infectious diseases expert Professor Michael Baker has received almost $5 million from the Health Research Council for a programme investigating the connection between infectious diseases and long-term conditions, something he was planning well prior to the outbreak of Covid-19.

University offers training in refugee and migrant health

Friday 5 June 2020

A post-graduate course on refugee and migrant health being run by the University of Otago, Wellington is offering primary health care professionals the opportunity to improve their training in the area, ahead of a likely increase in the number of refugees coming to the country.

Teens shocked by suicide portrayal in ‘13 Reasons Why’ study finds

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Teenagers interviewed about their views on the suicide portrayed in the controversial Netflix series 13 Reasons Why report being shocked by the graphic detail of the scene, which they saw as excessive, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington, have found.

He Kete Kōrero – Autumn 2020

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Welcome to the Autumn 2020 edition of He Kete Kōrero, with recent highlights from the Wellington campus.

Damp and mouldy housing new measure in latest deprivation index

Thursday 30 January 2020

Damp and mouldy housing has been included as an indicator of socioeconomic deprivation in New Zealand by University of Otago researchers developing the latest version of the New Zealand Index of Socioeconomic Deprivation (NZDep2018).

He Kete Kōrero – Summer 2019

Wednesday 18 December 2019


Welcome to the Summer 2019–2020 edition of He Kete Kōrero, with recent highlights from the Wellington campus.

Real world focus for postgrad primary health care curriculum

Tuesday 26 November 2019

The convenor of refreshed postgraduate qualifications in primary health care at the University of Otago, Wellington, has brought years of experience working as a field medic for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in such global hotspots as Afghanistan and Sierra Leone – as well as on-the-ground work in rural and urban New Zealand - to the task.

Spirituality and Mental Health Symposium

Thursday 21 November 2019

A symposium being held at the University of Otago, Wellington on Monday 25 November offers a chance to tackle some of life’s most fundamental questions, including the nature of reality and the meaning of life.

Seven inaugural Sesquicentennial Distinguished Chair appointments to mark 150th

Monday 30 September 2019

In a new initiative, the University is celebrating its internationally acclaimed scholars by creating a prestigious new role - the Sesquicentennial Distinguished Chair (Poutoko Taiea).

Otago academic to head new national cancer strategy

Monday 2 September 2019

The new interim National Director of Cancer Control, University of Otago academic Professor Diana Sarfati, believes lives will be saved as a result of the new National Cancer Action Plan.

Teenagers say ‘nope’ to dope

Friday 16 August 2019

New research from the University of Otago, Wellington, has shed light on the declining use of cannabis use by teens.

Old vaccine brings new surprises

Friday 19 July 2019

New research about an old vaccine – one that has been in use for nearly 100 years – has not only shown how effective it is but also suggests it improves our immune response to a wider range of bacteria than originally intended.

HRC Grants of almost $35 million to Division of Health Sciences researchers

Thursday 27 June 2019

Beta blockers, smoking cessation, stress suppression in motherhood and synthetic cannabinoid signalling are just a few of the areas of University of Otago Division of Health Sciences research to receive a total of almost $35 million in funding this year from the Health Research Council.

Butting Out: Researchers gauge public opinion on tobacco product waste

Friday 14 June 2019

Requiring cigarettes to contain biodegradable filters, fining smokers who litter cigarette butts and expanding smoke free outdoor areas are measures the public considers are most likely to reduce tobacco product waste, new University of Otago research reveals.

Opinion: Why are taxpayers subsidising licensed firearms owners?

Wednesday 22 May 2019

OPINION: Online comment from some local gun lobbyists after the Christchurch shooting bypassed sympathy and jumped straight to worries about government "taking our guns away". Despite such attitudes, firearm owners are happy for the rest of us to subsidise them through our taxes.

Otago’s emerging researchers secure more than $1.7 million in HRC funding

Thursday 16 May 2019

An occupational therapist who aims to improve the quality of life for children with disabilities is one of several University of Otago early-stage researchers who have together been awarded more than $1.7 million in Health Research Council funding.

Making the homeless count

Thursday 9 May 2019

When Dr Kate Amore began researching homelessness for her PhD at the University of Otago, Wellington, the country was in denial that the issue was even a problem, she says.

Housing WOFs need to be combined with education, study shows

Tuesday 9 April 2019

Alongside funding and regulatory support, understanding how housing affects health and safety can spur owners to make improvements to their properties, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington and WISE Better Homes have found.

Kids’ everyday exposure to food marketing

Monday 8 April 2019

You can view an introduction to a paper where Professor Louise Signal is a lead author. Her research used cameras on children to study their exposure to food marketing.

Otago researchers call for urgent law change

Sunday 17 March 2019

Firearms law changes promised by the Prime Minister are long overdue, according to experts in the Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, Dr Marie Russell and Dr Hera Cook.

Message from the Vice-Chancellor

Friday 15 March 2019

The University of Otago community stands shoulder to shoulder with the Muslim community. Following the tragic events in Christchurch last Friday, several events are being held on the Dunedin campus on Thursday, 21 March.

Train station signs send weak smokefree signal

Friday 22 February 2019

More than 20 per cent of the 54 railway stations in the lower North Island have no smokefree signs at all and many others have signs of poor quality, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington have found.

Are we closing the health gap?

Thursday 21 February 2019

Listen to Professor Louise Signal, Director of the Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit, participate in a radio panel interview considering progress in addressing health inequities.

New Zealand leads global effort to control rheumatic fever

Monday 11 February 2019

A three-year project aimed at pinpointing the most effective ways to prevent and control rheumatic fever and associated heart disease in New Zealand is being launched tomorrow (Tuesday 12 February) at the University of Otago, Wellington.

‘Choosing Wisely’ reduces unnecessary tests and antibiotic use, study finds

Tuesday 22 January 2019

A Hutt Valley District Health Board campaign to cut the number of urine tests being carried out on hospital patients not only significantly reduced the number of unnecessary tests being ordered but also lowered the level of antibiotic prescribing, a study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal has found.

Licence to Swill: James Bond’s drinking over six decades

Monday 10 December 2018

He may be licensed to kill but fictional British secret service agent James Bond has a severe alcohol use disorder, according to an analysis of his drinking behaviour published in the Medical Journal of Australia’s Christmas issue.

Sobering insights into alcohol marketing and Māori children

Thursday 1 November 2018

Innovative camera research has revealed that New Zealand children are exposed to alcohol marketing in their residential and school neighbourhoods. The collaborative research by the Universities of Otago and Auckland, found children’s exposure to alcohol marketing was higher in neighbourhoods with greater numbers of alcohol outlets and for Māori participants.

Flavoured capsule cigarettes pose a threat to smokefree goals

Tuesday 23 October 2018

New research from ASPIRE2025, a University of Otago research theme, challenges tobacco companies’ claims they are working towards a smokefree world and suggests young people are vulnerable to tobacco companies’ product innovations.

Six Otago researchers recognised in NZ research honours

Thursday 18 October 2018

University of Otago Research Fellow Helen Taylor’s science communication around conservation genetics and threatened species has earned her recognition at this year’s New Zealand Research Honours.

Researchers call for end to fat stigma

Thursday 11 October 2018

Researchers are using World Obesity Day today to call for an end to the stigma which fat people experience in their daily lives.

Tackling diet-related disease in New Zealand

Monday 3 September 2018

Unhealthy diet is the leading preventable risk for poor health in New Zealand. Diet-related diseases (and how we manage them) is becoming a pressing issue for the country.

Honing in on the key ingredients for successful self-management of chronic pain

Friday 24 August 2018

The outlook for the one in five New Zealanders with persistent or chronic pain has the potential to be more positive according to an extensive study review by researchers from the School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago, Wellington (UOW) and Pain Management Service, Capital Coast District Health Board.

Major fundamental changes required to achieve health equity

Monday 9 July 2018

In comparing efforts to address health inequities, researchers in Aotearoa/New Zealand (NZ) and the United States (US) have found that both countries are failing to align policy with evidence-based approaches that could help achieve equity.

Junk food dominates NZ sport

Monday 9 July 2018

Junk food dominates New Zealand sport venues, according to new research led by the University of Otago, Wellington.

Cold New Zealand council housing getting an upgrade

Wednesday 30 May 2018

University of Otago, Wellington researchers are advocating for standards to bring all New Zealand housing up to the World Health Organization minimum standard which recommends indoor temperature of 18 degrees celcius.

Obesity a tough topic for GPs, Otago research reveals

Friday 18 May 2018

New University of Otago research highlights the difficulties for GPs of discussing obesity with patients who are overweight and signals the need for resources to support them and other community health providers in this role.