Ageing Well Newsletter - Issue 2, 2024

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June 27, 2024

In the latest issue of our newsletter, we hear some Matariki reflections from our Director, Professor David Baxter, discussing the end of Ageing Well research.


Kia ora.

Today is a momentous day as we mark the official conclusion or culmination of Ageing Well Research. It is also a fitting time that the contractual end of the eleven National Science Challenges at Matariki, the Māori New Year. It’s naturally a time for all of us to acknowledge the past, celebrate the present, and look to the future.

As a Challenge, we have been fortunate to bring together a phenomenal group of researchers from all over the motu to work across disciplines and institutions to capitalise on the opportunities presented by ageing in Aotearoa New Zealand.

In 2014, a group of researchers, led by those from the University of Otago, submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) outlining the concept of ‘Ageing Well.’ Since then, we have made remarkable progress.

Initially, we focused on ‘doing science differently’. This approach involved embedding Vision Mātauranga in our projects and engaging with communities to start conversations about addressing specific issues. Soon, this progressed into broadening our scope, having community members join our whānau as researchers, merging our Kahui Māori advisory group with our Governance Group, and focusing on equity in ageing.

However, as we reflect on the evolution of our Challenge, we realise that the label ‘doing science differently’ no longer adequately describes us.

Over the life of the Challenge, we cultivated strong relationships with our community groups, researchers, ministry staff, and other stakeholders. This was due to the time we spent engaged in whanaungatanga and manaakitanga. The majority of Ageing Well projects feature community partners embedded in the research team who help drive the research kaupapa, ensuring it is tailored to its purpose, and the outcomes are practical and applicable.

Additionally, we have widened the scope of what defines ‘research’. Rather than funded research being solely based in Universities, our recent projects have been community-based and Māori-led. A novel initiative for the science research sector.

At Ageing Well, we have done science well and are proud to lead the way for other organisations to follow.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank our dedicated principal investigators, research teams, and community researchers for their mahi, expertise and commitment to our kaupapa. We have learned much from your multi-disciplinary research, commitment to kotahitanga, and willingness to expand beyond your comfort zone. Ngā mihi maioha ki a koutou e te kairangahau mō ō koutou kaha mahi.

To our community supporters and longtime readers of our newsletter, ngā mihi maioha ki a koutou. We have enjoyed many fruitful collaborations with nonprofit organizations, government departments, and kaumātua and community service providers. The depth and breadth of our whanaungatanga has been fruitful and we hope that will continue in some form.

At Ageing Well, we have done science well and are proud to lead the way for other organisations to follow." -- Prof David Baxter

What’s next for Ageing Well?

The Ageing Well team will be working until the end of August to complete reporting requirements for MBIE and tie up loose ends. We aim to publish another newsletter or two to share information about our newly completed projects and our final wrap up.

Our website will be accessible for five years post-Challenge and will remain a central hub for ageing-related research and information. However, we will be deactivating our social media accounts at the end of August. More information about this will be posted on our website.

In the lead up to Matariki and the completion of our research, our whānau has been pondering what we have achieved over the past decade. It calls to mind a whakataukī that refers to something having completed a full cycle or to celebrate a project coming to term:

Kua hua te marama

The moon is full

We are so thankful for your continued support of our kaupapa and eagerly look forward to what the future holds.

Mānawatia a Matariki.


Professor David Baxter
Director, Ageing Well National Science Challenge

Read the full newsletter.