A new collaboration to develop a comprehensive picture of health and well-being in young Maori children has been signed between A Better Start National Science Challenge and Whai Maia, the  cultural, educational and health arm of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. A Better Start and Whai Maia, are each investing $50,000 in the short-term project that will result in a detailed assessment of the health and wellbeing needs of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei infants and young children from 0-5 years of age. The project combines the Challenge’s research expertise with the resources of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei health workers who will engage with whānau on a questionnaire to find what matters most for the health and well-being of tamariki. This will inform Whai Maia on where to prioritise funding and services.

A Better Start’s Director Professor Wayne Cutfield said, “ When the Challenge signed the Memorandum of Joint Objectives with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, this is exactly the kind of project we envisaged, one that aligns well with each organisations’ mission.” Whai Maia chief executive Rangimarie Hunia said,” This project is about building the evidence base for our health and wellbeing strategy informed by what whānau recognise as important.” An important spin-off from the project is the building of closer working ties with researchers at the Liggins Institute, at the University of Auckland, where A Better Start is hosted, and Whai Maia health professionals.

Chief Executive of Whai Maia Rangimarie Hunia and Challenge Director Wayne Cutfield sign the collaboration agreement.