$3.25m in new projects for Ageing Well NSC in Māori and Pacific Peoples

17 Nov 2016

Dr Dianne McCarthy CRSNZ CNZM, Acting Chair of Ageing Well National Science Challenge has announced today new funding of $3.25 million for four innovative research projects to be conducted as part of the Ageing Well National Science Challenge (NSC).

In recognition of the specific challenges and opportunities faced by Māori and Pacific Peoples to age well, the focus of this Ageing Well NSC 2016 Contestable Funding Round was research that investigated aspects of ageing that are prevalent for these groups of people.

The four successful projects look at areas across all stages of life, including intergenerational relationships, and experiences of the older generations, and are led by researchers from universities and community agencies.

Ageing Well Director Professor Dave Baxter commented that he was delighted with the quality and quantity of the applications received through the Contestable Round, and welcomed the outcome which represented a significant funding boost to this area of research.

The successful projects were:

Kaumatua mana motuhake: Kaumatua managing life transitions through tuakana-teina/peer education, Professor Brendan Hokowhitu, Waikato University $915,000;

The research seeks to address the mana motuhake (identity, autonomy) of kaumātua (older Māori aged 55 or older). It will investigate the health outcomes of a ‘tuakana-teina’ (mentoring) peer-educator model, and result in evidence-based interventions to meet social and health needs of kaumātua and their whanau.

Pacific Islands Families: Healthy Pacific Grandparents (PIF:HPG) Study, Dr El-Shadan (Dan) Tautolo, Auckland University of Technology, $940,000;

This study will use participatory action research methods to understand what factors older Pacific people consider important for their wellbeing, and how those factors can improve in social and health system settings. Participant-proposed solutions and action plans will be developed and implemented, to enhance the wellbeing of older Pacific people

Tapinga ‘a Maama’: Pacific Life and Death in Advanced Age, Dr Ofa Dewes, University of Auckland, $450,000;

Pacific older adults currently have high levels of unmet need and poor access to palliative care while dying. This study draws on Pacific health models to provide urgently-needed information on Pacific people’s experiences in palliative care, and the experiences and challenges faced by their aiga who carry out the bulk of their care. The research will improve end-of-life care for older Pacific People.

Loneliness and Social Isolation among Older Maori and Pacific People: Critical processes, events and mitigating factors, Mr Charles Waldegrave and Taimalieutu Kiwi Tamasese, Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit (FCSPRU) and Professor Chris Cunningham, Massey University, $945,000.

The aim of this project is to enable early detection of pathways that lead to loneliness and social isolation for older Māori and Pacific people in NZ, and the mitigating factors that will facilitate social connection and enduring relationships during old age. Better-targeted services and policies will improve the quality of life of older Māori and Pacific people and increase the cost-effectiveness of services.

The Ageing Well National Science Challenge, was launched in March 2015, with a vision to push back disability thresholds to enable all New Zealanders to reach their full potential through life, with particular emphasis on the latter years of life. Following the March launch nine projects were funded that covered topics ranging from housing tenancy, frailty and lifestyle interventions, and innovative approaches for stroke prevention and recovery. These projects are currently underway.

The National Science Challenge for Ageing Well is funded by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, and represents a strategic partnership between the Universities of Otago, Auckland, Canterbury, Massey, Waikato, Victoria and AUT, together with the Centre for Research Evaluation and Social Assessment, and Ag Research.