30 Apr 2018

Project to look at education's effects on Māori pre-schoolers

5:06 pm on 30 April 2018

A project tracking the benefits of Māori early childhood education will receive $500,000 dollars from a new Māori health research fellowship.

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Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Dr Reremoana Theodore of the University of Otago is one of two researchers to receive $500,000 of funding as part of the inaugural Māori Health Research Emerging Leader fellowships.

The four-year fellowships are awarded by the Health Research Council and the Ministry of Health.

Dr Theodore's project will look at the impact of education on the well-being of young Māori and also the benefits of tertiary study for Māori university students.

The project is a part of the larger Te Kura Mai i Tawhiti research project, run by Taranaki Māori community group Te Pou Tiringa and the National Centre for Lifelong Research.

"Life-course research is being used to inform government policies and investment in wellbeing," Dr Theodore said.

"But there has been limited Māori life-course research to date to inform programmes that will make a difference for Māori over time."

Fellow researcher Dr Jason Gurney was the other recipient of the fellowship.

His project would investigate how to help improve the quality of life for Māori cancer patients.

Over the next four years, Dr Gurney wanted to identify the most important cancer priorities for Māori and put together a plan as to how best to tackle those priorities.

That included developing a policy discussion document to help shape health strategies for Māori.

The project could have a significant long-term effect on Māori health, Dr Gurney said.

"We need to take a systematic approach to tackling the profound problem that we have with Māori cancer outcomes, and I want to be part of that conversation."

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