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Research Overview.


To positively impact on the social determinants of their health, tāngata whaikaha and disabled persons must be able to contribute to policy planning and programme development. However, they report often not being able to meaningfully engage in the  processes. Additionally, their advocacy recommendations may not be articulated in ways that policy planners can use. This gap contributes to inequities in health outcomes. 


This research involves partnering with tāngata whaikaha and disabled persons, Māori and non-Māori, to develop a deeper understanding of the contexts in which disabled people can access and maintain kāinga in a way that meets their needs and aspirations.  From this process we will co-produce policy recommendations that can be used meaningfully by policy advisors at national and local levels of government.

Alongside, we will develop innovative methods and tools that can be used in other policy planning spaces. These tools will empower and enable disabled people to create and articulate knowledge that better addresses equitable policy and programme development within Aotearoa, New Zealand. 

Kāinga (housing and home) was selected as a focus area as a scoping study highlighted that access to kainga that meet their needs and aspirations is a specific health-related issue that dominates tāngata whaikaha’s concerns. They want the ability to create a home that enables them and their whānau to thrive, not just survive. 

Through this study we will be co-producing: 

  • Policy recommendations about kāinga (housing and home). 

  • Resources to improve meaningful involvement of tāngata whaikaha in health-related policy development processes more generally. 




This 3-year project is funded by a New Zealand Health Research Council Emerging Researcher First Grant.

The research is being conducted via the University of Otago Wellington (UOW) in collaboration with the University of Victoria Wellington (VUW), Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and Massey University, Wellington.

This research will be conducted in four phases.


In phase 1, co-design theory-building workshops with tāngata whaikaha Māori and non-Māori will postulate theories about how housing works (or not), for whom, and in what circumstances to improve health-related outcomes. This phase is completed.


In phase 2, qualitative survey responses gathered from tāngata whaikaha Māori and disabled people across Aotearoa NZ, will explore contexts and resources (i.e., individual, social and environmental) that support them to access and maintain kāinga that meet their needs and aspirations. This phase is in process. We will be gathering disabled people's thoughts and suggestions in an online interactive tool from December 2023 - March 2024.


In phase 3, a realist literature review with embedded tāngata whaikaha co-production workshops will synthesise evidence and generate knowledge to inform the development of equitable NZ housing policy. This phase started in October 2023.


Finally, in phase 4, two key research outputs will be disseminated: housing policy recommendations and the development of innovative co-production methods and tools that empower tāngata whaikaha to create, synthesise and articulate knowledge to planners in other policy areas. This will happen in the second half of 2024.

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