University research centres

The University has seven transdisciplinary University centres and institutes that focus on pioneering research.

Centre for Brain Research

Hosted by: Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences
Directors: Richard Faull, Makarena Dudley and Alan Barber.

Mission: The mission of the Centre for Brain Research (CBR) is to improve our understanding of the brain in order to improve outcomes for people throughout Aotearoa New Zealand with neurological disorders, through world-class collaborative brain research, clinical care, education and community interaction. At the core of the CBR Mission is the development of reciprocal transdisciplinary relationships, which span from the laboratory to the clinic to whānau and the community, enabling us to address research problems of critical concern, provide novel insights on the brain, and develop new treatment strategies to enhance care and give hope to people and families affected by brain diseases. The CBR recognises the unique status of Māori as the tangata whenua of Aotearoa. The CBR will develop strong interactions with the Māori community to promote and achieve equitable outcomes for those whānau living with neurological disorders as guaranteed under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Homepage: Centre for Brain Research

Te Aka Mātauranga Matepukupuku - Centre for Cancer Research

Hosted by: Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences
Directors: Peter BrowettAndrew ShellingGeorge Laking and Megan Putterill.

Mission: Cancer is the number one cause of mortality in Aotearoa New Zealand. Tangata Māori are disproportionately and unjustly affected by cancer. Cancer research in Aotearoa New Zealand is increasingly diverse in range and scope. Without underpinning scholarship, cancer research risks becoming siloed, disjointed and unable to support excellence and equity of health outcomes. The mission of Te Aka Mātauranga Matepukupuku, The Centre for Cancer Research, is to provide national leadership in transdisciplinary cancer research. This will improve the understanding, care, prevention and treatment of cancer in Aotearoa New Zealand, in a way that meets the needs of our communities. The work will be of global relevance, not only for its content, but also for the way it is done.

Te Aka Mātauranga Matepukupuku will be the largest cancer research centre in Aotearoa New Zealand and will be co-led by Māori. It will connect over 300 researchers from multiple backgrounds, disciplines and institutions. It will link their work meaningfully and equitably with community aspirations, in multiple domains including cancer prevention, science, care and workforce development.
Homepage: Te Aka Mātauranga Matepukupuku - Centre for Cancer Research

Ngā Ara Whetū - Centre for Climate, Biodiversity & Society

Hosted by: Faculty of Science, co-hosted by the Business School, Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Engineering.
Director: Rachel WolfgrammJulie RowlandNiki HarréJacqueline BeggsMaria ArmoudianDavid Noone, Saeid Baroutian and Rod McNaughton

Mission: Ngā Ara Whetū will lead and contribute to world-class research and training, driving just and ethical action on climate change and the environment for thriving peoples and planetary wellbeing. Humanity is inseparable from nature: health, vitality and survival depend on ecosystems within which we live (oranga). “It’s now or never” to limit global warming, restore nature’s place (whakaora), and secure a liveable future. Disruptive transitions (hurihuri) are required that must be informed by knowledge and grounded in environmental and social justice (manatika). Ngā Ara Whetū responds to this need, connecting Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland’s research strength with knowledge and wisdom of ngā iwi Māori and interested parties to shape agendas, improve decisions and enhance capacities in support of:

  • The just and urgent transition to a healthy, low carbon and zero pollution future.
  • Fair and effective adaptation to climate change.
  • Rehabilitation and expansion of natural spaces.
  • Realisation of social structures for collaborative planning, policy and action.

Through this Centre, Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland will take its place amongst the many global actors striving to reduce climate risk and enable resilient and biodiverse ecosystems, thereby supporting fairer and healthier societies of Auckland.

CCREATE-AGE: Centre for Co-Created Ageing Research

Hosted by: Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences
Directors: Vanessa BurholtNgaire KerseJo Hikaka and Tia Reihana

Mission: To develop a transdisciplinary centre that will deliver creative and innovative solutions to realise opportunities, needs, and concerns identified by older people, to improve health, wellbeing and human flourishing. To walk alongside Māori and Pacific communities as equitable partners unlocking human potential by giving older people, researchers and other stakeholders the opportunity to co-create world-class ageing research. To be guided by kotahitanga, fostering inclusivity that is respectful of the diversity of older people and the communities to which they belong, which includes:

  • Aroha ki te tangata. Respectfulness and allowing people to define their own space and meet on their own terms.
  • He kanohi kitea. Meeting face-to-face, being seen and engaging within communities.
  • Titiro, whakarongo…kōrero. Looking, listening and then maybe speaking. Developing an understanding of communicating with iwi Māori (and other ethnicities) in order to find a place from which to speak.
  • Manaaki ki te tangata. Providing a hospitable, safe, physical and social environment to share knowledge.
  • Kia tūpato. Being cautious, respectful and having a critical approach to engagement.
  • Kaua e takahia te mana o te tangata. Respecting the mana of all involved and affected by research through partnership and power-sharing.
  • Kaua e mahaki. Inclusion and co-creation of many knowledge forms.

Centre for Pacific and Global Health

Hosted by:  Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences
Directors: Collin Tukuitonga, Judith McCool and Roannie Ng Shiu

Mission: Our mission is to positively impact health in the Pacific region and globally, through high-quality research founded in partnership and local ownership. Our transdisciplinary approach focuses on co-created solutions, equity, capacity development and fostering local, regional and global leadership. We will build on our existing relationships within the University and beyond. 

We will work collaboratively to design and deliver solutions to our region's most pressing challenges: non-communicable diseases, the health impact of the climate crisis, pandemic preparedness and the health of children and young people. We promote Pacific values, priorities and knowledge. We acknowledge diversity in knowledge processes, grounded in the principles and values of Pacific data sovereignty. We draw on Pacific indigenous knowledge and frameworks such as talanoa and wayfinding, mātauranga Māori, epidemiology, clinical medicine, social sciences and humanities.

We welcome scholars, students and partners from government, non-government, regional and global organisations to work with us within a co-creation model. Pacific-led research (building capacity, enhancing capabilities in growth areas) will advance policy, advocacy, leadership and innovative initiatives for promoting health and wellbeing for Pacific populations. Working with interconnected research hubs and research platforms, we will offer training and leadership opportunities for emerging scholars.

James Henare Māori Research Centre

Hosted by: Faculty of Arts
Directors: Marama Muru-Lanning and Robert Pouwhare.

Mission:  The James Henare Research Centre is Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland's leading Māori transdisciplinary research centre. The Centre is committed to co-designing and co-creating excellent research with Te Tai Tokerau flaxroots communities, underpinned by the transformative values of Te Ao Māori. We envisage a future where our shared research enables our community partners to exercise mana motuhake and lead decisions that affect their social, environmental and economic wellbeing.

Our approach to research excellence is founded on Manaakitanga (support and encouragement), Whanaungatanga (relationships) and Rangatiratanga (leadership). With a dedicated research team and administration infrastructure including our established archive, we promote Māori scholarship and actively train and professionalise Māori graduate and early career researchers. In stimulating creativity and focusing on local Māori issues, we are preparing the next generation of Māori researchers to think holistically, deeply and critically, and to positively contribute to the world.

HomepageJames Henare Māori Research Centre

MĀPIHI: Māori and Pacific Housing Research Centre

Hosted by: Faculty Creative Arts and Industries 
Directors: Deidre Brown and Karamia Müller.

Mission: MĀPIHI: Māori and Pacific Housing Research Centre is committed to improving housing quality and supply for Māori and Pacific communities in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific through impactful research that is manaaki-centred (uplifting mana) and based on tikanga Māori, Pacific values, Te Tiriti and Vision Mātauranga principles, expert knowledge and transdisciplinarity.

Aotearoa New Zealand’s housing crisis disproportionally affects Māori and Pacific communities. Known societal issues are low housing and land supply, building costs, unaffordability, poor proximity to work and education, crowding, substandard construction, uninhabitability and the hauora (wellbeing) effects of all these factors. Solutions to these issues are under-researched.

MĀPIHI addresses identified research gaps by increasing housing research capacity and capability through transdisciplinary partnerships with communities, NGOs, industry, local and central government agencies, and research entities at other tertiary institutions. MĀPIHI’s collaborative research approach provides the knowledge, techniques, workforce development and policy advice needed for transformational change in housing quality and supply. These impacts are centred on improving hauora through our ‘Whakahā’ work programmes.

Each programme is comprised of codesigned projects identified through stakeholder ideation and organised under Whenua, Hanga, Kāinga and Hauora categories; the first three of these consider the social, economic, cultural, technical and environmental aspects of the building cycle and they each relate through their impact pathways to the fourth programme, Hauora - which will be enhanced through improving housing quality and supply.