research & innovation

The vision of the late Dr Paratene Ngata was:
“for Ngāti Porou Hauora to lead our own research, as a tikanga and research-based centre of excellence for Hauora Māori”.

As the first Māori health provider in New Zealand to develop its own research policy and procedures, we have a proud history of leadership and collaborations when it comes to research and evaluation. We are an active partner with local and international groups working to improve health and well-being for rural and indigenous people.

Current programmes

Pepi Ora

In partnership with The Vodafone New Zealand Foundation and Todd Foundation, we are in the process of developing Pēpi Ora. Pēpi Ora is an incentive-based programme for young families that rewards parents for the important contribution they make to NZ society. Once trialled and refined into an attractive, functional app; this programme has great potential.

Uawa HPV Vaccination Initiative

With support from the DHB, Uawa Health Centre and Tolaga Bay Area School have co-designed a modified process for delivering the 2017/18 HPV vaccination programme. It aims to improve information sharing and increase uptake of the vaccination, especially by male students. The vaccination was offered at school and included education sessions with males led by males (a GP and science teacher). The success of the project has led to a further study to critically reflect, evaluate and share learnings widely. This is being supported by Cancer Society Central Districts and the J R McKenzie Trust.

Huringa Pai

The Huringa Pai (‘positive change’) movement was born out of Ngāti Porou Hauora during 2015 when Kaiti Clinic staff, patients and whānau decided to team up to tackle diabetes and heart disease. With zero-budget (until recently), this community-led movement has grown exponentially to empower whānau to ‘move more’, eat and grow healthier kai (food). In 2017 the community took full ownership, forming the Huringa Pai Charitable Trust.  This year, together, we have secured support from the JR McKenzie Trust to complete an evaluative case study share the journey, learnings and success of the initiative.


In response to high rates of SUDI (sudden unexplained infant deaths occurring while sleeping) in Māori children, the Nukutere Weavers’ Collective in Gisborne developed the wahakura in 2006, the country’s first Māori safe-sleeping device. Research led by Dr Tipene-Leach, a NPH GP during the development of wahakura, has since endorsed this cultural device to keep baby safe.  The NPH Nati and Healthy programme continues to support Wahakura workshops as an effective way to engage expectant mums and pass on a range of antenatal messages.

Sugar in Schools

The ‘Sugar in Schools Study’ works with secondary schools’ science students, their teachers and whānau to explore how fructose (the most dangerous sugar in our diet) is absorbed by different people in different ways, and the effect this has on body weight and health. This is one of the first two projects being planned in partnership with Auckland and Otago researchers affiliated with the national Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery (MWC). With MWC, and now Health Research Council funding support for five years, this study is an opportunity for our tauira (students) to engage with research as a potential career whilst learning about their bodies and their health.

Study of Metabolic Effects of CREBRF and Other Gene Variants

In partnership with the Maurice Wilkins Centre, this study focuses on better understanding the impact that a newly identified CREBRF gene variant and other gene variants can have on the risk of developing type-2 diabetes and related metabolic conditions like gout, obesity, and heart disease. It has recently been found that people with the CREBRF gene variant have a higher body mass but a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. We aim to assess how small differences in our genes affect body structure (height, muscle and fat mass) and how our bodies handle kai (metabolism). In the longer-term we aim to contribute to better treatment and prevention for these diseases.

Gout and Related Conditions: Genetics and Environment Programme

Our longest ongoing research programme, in partnership with University of Otago researchers since 2006, focuses on increasing understandings about what genes and kai (food) have to do with the gout and related conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. We compare information gifted by participants with and without gout and various related conditions. We are also improving understanding of how findings can be better used by whānau and doctors & nurses to treat and prevent such conditions. The Health Research Council of New Zealand has been the major funder of this programme, with earlier funding support from Lottery Health, the University of Otago and the Heart Foundation of New Zealand.  See panui for a summary of some key findings to date.

Te Ara Auahi Kore (TAKe) Research Programme

With the University of Otago (Wellington), Whakauae Research Services (Whanganui) and five other Māori health providers, Ngāti Porou Hauora is participating in the TAKe research programme funded by the Health Research Council. The aim is to better understand why Māori smoking rates are bucking the country’s overall decline in smoking, and how to improve ways to reduce disproportionately high smoking rates among Māori. We hope to discover why strategies that have been generally effective in New Zealand, might not be working so well for Māori and what may work better - and within that, what may work better for whānau in our rohe.

our partners

recent reports


Guidelines for Genomic Research with Māori.



Exchanging on social power in health. Case Study: Ngāti Porou Hauora, New Zealand.



The wider economic benefits of providing health services.



Informing Cultural Guidelines for Bio-banking and Genomic Research.

Download NPH Research Bibliography

For any Research and Evaluation queries please contact our Research Coordinator Jennie Harre Hindmarsh

featured reports

Harré Hindmarsh, J., Aston, B., & Henare, C. (2007). Manaakitia te rawa kore—Supporting the disempowered. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 5,331–345. Doi: 10.1007/s11469-007-9113-5.  [NPH – re sinking lid policy for poker machines]

Coppell, K. J., Tipene-Leach, D. C., Pahau, H. L. R., Williams, S. M., Abel, S., Iles, M., Harre Hindmarsh, J. K., & Mann, J. I. (2009). Two-year results from a community-wide diabetes prevention intervention in a high risk indigenous community: The Ngati and Healthy project. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 85(2), 220-227.

Harré Hindmarsh, J. & King, F. (2015) Trial of Health Literacy Innovation to Improve Antibiotic Adherence for Treatment of Group A Streptococcal Sore Throats: Evaluation Report to Ministry of Health. Gisborne: Ngāti Porou Hauora Charitable Trust.

Kenealy T. W., Parsons, M. J. G., Rouse, A. P. B., Doughty, R. N., Sheridan, N. F., Harre Hindmarsh, J. K., … Rea, H. H. (2015). Telecare for diabetes, CHF or COPD: Effect on quality of life, hospital use and costs. A randomised controlled trial and qualitative evaluation. PLoS One 10(3): e0116188. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116188  [Univ Auckland/NPH]

Merriman T,  Harré Hindmarsh J (2015) How to have a happy (and gout free) Christmas. Nati Link Connecting Our Iwi, December Issue. Gisborne: Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou.

Hudson, M., Beaton, A., Milne, M., Port, W., Russell, K., Smith, B., … Wilcox, P. (2016)Te Mata Ira: Guidelines for genomic research with Māori. Hamilton: Te Mata Hautū Taketake – Māori and Indigenous Governance Centre, University of Waikato.  [Ngati Porou one of five iwi participating in background research for Te Mata Ira].  

Matheson, D. & Matheson, K. (2017)   Case Study: Ngati Porou Hauora, New Zealand. In the Shaping of Health programme on learning from international experiences on approaches to community power, participation and decision-making in health, in association with NPH, Training and Research Support Centre. [TARSC/NPH]

Crengle S, Luke JN, Lambert M, Smylie J, Reid S, Harré Hindmarsh J, Kelaher M. (2018). Effects of a health literacy intervention trial on knowledge about cardiovascular disease medications among Indigenous peoples in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. BMJ Open 8 (1)

Krishnan M, Major T, Topliss R, Dewes O, Lennox Y, Thompson JMD, McCowan L, Zoysa J, Amp L, Dalbeth N, Harré Hindmarsh J, Rapana N, Deka R, Eng W, Weeks D, Minster R, McGarvey S, Viali S, Naseri T, Reupena MS, Wilcox P, Grattan D, Shepherd P, Shelling A, Murphy R, Merriman T. (2018) Discordant association of the CREBRF rs373863828 A allele with increased BMI and protection from type 2 diabetes in Maori and Pacific (Polynesian) people living in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Diabetologia. . [Uni Otago et al/NPH].

Stokes, F., Dixon, H., & Nana, G. (2015). Ngāti Porou Hauora: The wider economic benefits of providing health services. Wellington: Business Economic Research Limited (BERL)

Tan, L. (2016). Ngāti Porou Health Dashboard. Te Puia Springs: Ngāti Porou Hauora. [NPH]