Doctoral study in Māori and Pacific Health

Why study with us?

Māori and Pacific Health is studied within the School of Population Health.

We have strong links internationally, in particular with researchers and health providers around New Zealand and the Pacific. We also offer a research-rich environment that appreciates that the causes of ill-health occur at all levels of complexity.

Our inter-professional approach provides access to a range of skills, knowledge and experience amongst the staff extending across the spectrum of primary care, community health, health services and public health.

Research opportunities

There are opportunities to undertake doctoral studies in many of the areas of expertise within the department. Some of our research interests and projects include: 

  • Development of methodological issues in Māori and Pacific health research
  • Sociological, economic and political factors that affect Māori and Pacific peoples' health
  • SUDI epidemiology and preventionHealth service utilisation
  • Evaluation of provision, organisation and delivery of health services, particularly to Māori and Pacific peoples
  • Child health
  • Social, cultural and economic determinants of disease

Our people

Pacific Health

Associate Professor Vili Nosa

Associate Professor Vili Nosa is currently the Head of Pacific Health Section, School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. University of Auckland. Associate Professor Nosa has a BA in Education & Sociology, MA (Hons) in Sociology, and a PhD in Behavioural Science at the University of Auckland. His scholarly interests are in Pacific health issues in the Pacific region & New Zealand, Pacific men’s health, alcohol, tobacco, drugs and substance abuse. He has supervised a number of students at an International and the Pacific region. He was awarded the Faculty of Medical & Health Science 2018 Butland Award for Excellence in Research Supervision.

Fuafiva Fa’alau

Fuafiva Fa'alau has an MA in Social Anthropology from the University of Auckland and a PhD in Sociology from Massey University. Her PhD project provided an opportunity to explore theories and frameworks across the disciplines of psychology and sociology. Her academic and research background is in social science and public health.

Fuafiva has worked in academic units and health and social services sectors for the last 20 years as a general manager, researcher and evaluator. She has a general interest in research that impacts on the general health and well-being of Pacific families. Fuafiva completed many research projects examining health issues affecting Pasifika communities.

Māori Health

Professor Papaarangi Reid

Papaarangi holds science and medical degrees from the University of Auckland and is a specialist in public health medicine. She has tribal affiliations to Te Rarawa in the Far North of Aotearoa and her research interests include analysing disparities between indigenous and non-indigenous citizens as a means of monitoring government commitment to indigenous rights. 

Associate Professor Matire Harwood

Dr Matire Harwood is the Co-Director for Tōmaiora, the Māori Health Research group at Te Kupenga Hauora Māori (TKHM); and a clinical academic. In addition to her role at TKHM, Matire is a GP at Papakura Marae Health Clinic in South Auckland, sits on the Waitematā District Health Board and is Clinical Lead at the National Hauora Coalition PHO. She supervises summer students through to post-doctoral researchers, with a focus on the application of Kaupapa Māori methodologies to clinical research.

Associate Professor Elana Curtis

Dr Elana Taipapaki Curtis (Ngāti Rongomai, Ngāti Pikiao, Te Arawa) currently works as Senior Lecturer Medical at Te Kupenga Hauora Māori, University of Auckland. She is Director Vision 20:20 which provides academic leadership of Hikitia Te Ora - Certificate in Health Sciences, Māori and Pacific Admission Scheme and the Whakapiki Ake Project. 

Dr Anneka Anderson

Dr Anneka Anderson (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe) is the Director of Hikitia Te Ora - Certificate in Health Sciences, Co-Director of teaching and the Post Graduate Advisor for Te Kupenga Hauora Māori. Anneka is a qualitative kaupapa Māori researcher who focuses her work around Māori experiences of health. Anneka has engaged in research with rheumatic fever, rheumatic heart disease, tuberculosis, antenatal care, health service utilisation and kaumātua health.

Dr Sarah-Jane Paine

Dr Sarah-Jane Paine (Tuhoe) is a Senior Lecturer at Te Kupenga Hauora Māori and Co-Director of the Tōmaiora Research Group. She holds science degrees from the University of Otago and a PhD in Public Health from Massey University. Her area of research expertise is in the quantitative investigation of ethnic inequities in health and the determinants of health across the life-course.

Dr Rhys Jones

Dr Rhys Jones is Public Health Physician, currently working as a Senior Lecturer at Te Kupenga Hauora Māori (TKHM). His research interests include ethnic inequalities in health, Indigenous health in health professional education, and environmental influences on health. He has been the Principal Investigator of the Educating for Equity study, an international research project examining how health professional education can reduce inequities and improve health outcomes for Indigenous populations. 

Dr Jade Tamatea

Jade Tamatea (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Maniapoto) works clinically as an Endocrinologist and Diabetologist at Waikato DHB. Based in Hamilton, she is a senior lecturer with Te Kupenga Hauora Māori, with research interest in ethnic healthcare inequities, particularly in diabetes and thyroid disease. She is particularly interested in clinical research that addresses the impact the healthcare system plays in inequities. Jade completed a PhD in Medicine in 2019 at the University of Auckland, titled “Whakangungu Rākau – Incidence, Severity and Treatment Outcomes of Thyrotoxicosis for Māori.” 

Dr Karen Brewer

Karen Brewer is a speech-language therapist and kaupapa Māori researcher. With an interest in acquired speech and language disorders, Karen has worked at Waikato Hospital and as a community speech-language therapist for Counties Manukau Health. Karen completed a PhD in Speech Science at The University of Auckland in March 2014, with a thesis titled “The experiences of Māori with aphasia, their whānau members and speech-language therapists”. 

Dr Gulay Dalgic

Dr Gulay Dalgic has a research and teaching background in educational sciences and is currently working as a Professional Teaching Fellow at Te Kupenga Hauora Māori (TKHM). She completed a PhD in educational leadership and management in 2011. Dr Dalgic undertook post-doctoral research at Victoria University investigating the coaching and mentoring relationships of school principals. Her research interests include reflective practice for leadership development, successful women leaders, technological leadership and curriculum and learning designs.

Past research topics

“Organisation and dynamics of family relations and implications for the wellbeing of Samoan youth in Aotearoa, New Zealand” - Fuafiva Fa’alau


Karen Marie McLellan (2013), "The experiences of Māori with aphasia, their whānau members and speech-language therapists".
Supervisors: Dr Clare McCann (Speech Science), Dr Matire Harwood (TKHM), Professor Linda Worrall (University of Queensland)

Scholarships and awards

Help and advice

For help enrolling in your PhD, please contact the FMHS Student Centre.

If you would like to find out more about doctoral study in Māori and Pacific Heath, please contact Dr Anneka Anderson (a.anderson@auckland.ac.nz) and Associate Professor Vili Nosa (v.nosa@auckland.ac.nz).

Apply for doctoral study