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Independent Research Organisation Funding

49 months
Approved budget:
Dr Heather Gifford
Health issue:
Other (generic health or health services)
Proposal type:
Independent Research Organisation Grant
Lay summary
Whakauae was established in 2005 as a unit of Te Maru o Ruahine Trust (TMORT); the contracting and service arm of Ngati Hauiti, a small iwi located in central Rangitikei. The aim of establishing Whakauae was twofold: to develop the research capacity of Ngati Hauiti and to undertake high quality Maori-centred health research to inform, and contribute to, improved outcomes for Maori. Since its inception, Whakauae has focused primarily on Maori public health research, health promotion evaluation and primary care research. With the addition of new staff in 2008, we broadened out this focus to include health services and health policy research. Our key strength lies in our ability to produce world class research in the fields of tobacco control, health services, public policy and public health, which is of relevance to, and for the ultimate benefit of, Maori. In 2012, Whakauae became a stand-alone entity, under the auspices of Te Runanga o Ngati Hauiti. Whakauae maintains its charitable status and aims but now has a Board of Directors appointed by the Runanga. The Board provides governance oversight with members offering a mix of experience and skills. This mix includes economic and business expertise (with an economist and former Treasury Official), cultural expertise (former Maori Director of Health, Whanganui DHB) and research expertise (the Director of Whakauae is also a Board Director). Becoming a stand-alone entity has not altered the focus of our work, nor its intent. However, in practical terms it has allowed Whakauae to work under the direct guidance of a governance board comprising three iwi members, further strengthening the ties between Whakauae and Ngati Hauiti. We are the only iwi-owned Maori health research centre in Aotearoa. Whakauae is totally externally funded, hence our research work for, and on behalf of, iwi, hapu and Maori relies on our researchers bringing in competitive research grants and/or commissioned research. We strive to maintain a weighted portfolio of contracts across three classes: investigator-initiated research; community research and evaluation; and consultancy. We are proud of our track record of sustainable, effective partnerships locally, nationally and internationally. We have strong community linkages with whanau, hapu and iwi. We also partner with academic institutions such as Otago, Victoria and Massey Universities as well as with health services in the development and delivery of research. We have a strong commitment to, and track record of, nurturing and supporting local Maori community-based researchers.