An Auckland Maori trust says its newly launched research hub aims to find out from the community how to fix social problems such as domestic violence and poverty.
The Waipareira Trust first made a bid to establish a community based research centre 18 years ago, but the work was assigned to universities instead.
Chief executive John Tamihere said the community is more likely to open up to its own members in the Wai-Research team on issues such as children's health.
Mr Tamihere said children under the age of four undergo a 40-minute health check and researchers would look at whether the questions are asked in the interests of improving Maori welfare or serve to fill reports.
The unit is supported by Massey University and would produce two research papers early next year, he said.
The first paper would explore whether the right people are being commissioned to work in the areas of social, health, education and justice, while the second would assess the areas of the North Island that need the most attention.