An equity approach to health services recognises that different people with different levels of advantage require different strategies and resources to get equitable health outcomes. The Whanganui region has a high prevalence of Māori, an urban and rural population, a population mix weighted to both younger and older age groups, and a high level of deprivation. Understanding how our health system can best respond to an equity approach requires active research participation including both health providers and health care users. Health Solutions Trust, a Whanganui trust set up to support health care services, education and research, wish to develop a structure, governance, and framework for ongoing research into primary health care focusing on relationship development with providers, Māori researchers and priority populations. A research activation grant will enable the establishment of a strong equity-focused regional research collaborative drawing on both established research experience and emergent resources.