Author: admin_ageingwell

July 2020 Newsletter

Our July Newsletter is released! It outlines the ACTIVATION Project that Ageing Well has co-funded with Healthier Lives, success stories from Ageing Well’s whānau, media appearances, our office relocation, and information about the upcoming conference. Hope you enjoy the read!

Filed under: Newsletter

Ageing Well Director highlights the needs for older NZers due to Covid-19

Associate Professor Louise Parr-Brownlie, Ageing Well NSC Director, was recently featured for a story for Otago Daily Times on the impact of COVID-19 on older New Zealanders.

In this story, Associate Professor Parr-Brownlie highlights the fact that older New Zealanders have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and are bearing the brunt of Covid-19.

You can read this story here.

Filed under: Press

Joint Funding Announced

How does active travel help health and wellbeing in New Zealand communities?


From: Ageing Well−Kia eke kairangi ki te taikaumātuatanga and Healthier Lives−He Oranga Hauora National Science Challenges

As the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown or rāhui eases in New Zealand, people are gradually returning to public spaces and workplaces. This provides an opportunity to think about  different transport and travel options that could benefit people as well as the planet.

It is timely that a major new research project has been jointly funded by two of New Zealand’s National Science Challenges – Ageing Well and Healthier Lives – to investigate ways of “retro-fitting” the design of our cities that will encourage more active modes of travel and reduce car dependence.

Prof Karen Witten

A major research collaboration called ACTIVATION*, led by Professor Karen Witten of Massey University and involving researchers from numerous universities and research groups across New Zealand, will investigate the impact of transport and community infrastructure on peoples’ health and wellbeing over four years.

Active travel, such as walking, biking and using public transport, offers effective and equitable ways to increase physical activity across the whole population.

“We know physical activity has important health and wellbeing benefits, but we also know how hard it can be for people to increase their physical activity. Streetscapes that support active travel are important but so are social and cultural environments that encourage physical activity.  It is unknown what the best mix of interventions would be to increase active travel,” says Professor Witten.

“This research seeks to find what combination of interventions (or ‘sweet spots’) might trigger the uptake of active travel behaviour to enhance health and wellbeing. We’ll evaluate several interventions aimed at increasing active travel.”

Two urban sites

Prof Simon Kingham

The ACTIVATION project will receive funding of $2.443 million over four years. It is centred on two different urban sites, one in the North Island at Māngere in South Auckland and the other in the South Island at new developments in central Christchurch.

In Māngere, a community with a high proportion of Pacific and Māori residents, the project will build on an intervention where neighbourhood streets designed for car use have been retro-fitted to prioritise active travel.  The project will work with Safe and Healthy Streets South Auckland (SAHSSA), a collaboration between housing, transport and community agencies. It will be a unique opportunity to investigate the impact of locally co-designed activities aimed at increasing the connectivity of walking and biking infrastructure on residents’ physical activity, social connection and safety.

In Christchurch, research focussed on new higher density city building developments will investigate changes in travel practices associated with moving house to higher density central city living.  Interviews and surveys with residents and stakeholders will explore the factors that ensure success, such as attitude and behaviour change, and regulatory and institutional requirements. The research will inform ways in which transport and housing design can be integrated to encourage active mobility in urban regeneration programmes.

“We will undertake different kinds of research, involving residents, including kaumātua, local champions and service providers, to learn what new interventions fit best with local opportunities and preferences. Once the interventions are implemented, we will measure health and community-related impacts using survey and observational research,” says Professor Simon Kingham, University of Canterbury and Ministry of Transport’s Chief Science Advisor, who will be leading part of the work.

“The research will also provide insights about what enables or frustrates attempts by public agencies to develop neighbourhoods that support active travel,” says Professor Witten.

Two Science Challenges collaborate for stronger outcomes

The two National Science Challenges, Ageing Well and Healthier Lives, are excited to be working together to fund this important research.

“Physical activity promotes healthy ageing,” says Ageing Well Director Associate Professor Louise Parr-Brownlie (Ngāti Maniapoto me Te Arawa). 

“Active travel has important health and wellbeing benefits for individuals and whānau, and may in turn generate collective community-wide benefits of safety, social connectivity and air quality.”

“Physical activity resulting from active travel also has the potential to reduce risk factor for non-communicable diseases,” says Healthier Lives Director Professor Jim Mann.

“Countries around the world are grappling with these issues, in response to an increasing recognition of the link between human wellbeing and environmental sustainability,” he says.

This project is a perfect opportunity to investigate the benefits of active travel for New Zealand communities.

*ACTIVATION  stands for Activating Change through InterVentions for Active Travel in our Neighbourhoods

For further information and photos, please contact:  

Karen Witten,  +64 27 2802090;  Simon Kingham, +64 22 0144956;

or Fleur Templeton,  +64 21 225 4218.

More about Ageing Well – Kia eke kairangi ki te taikaumātuatanga National Science Challenge

Find more information about Ageing Well.

More about Healthier Lives – He Oranga Hauora National Science Challenge

Find more information about Healthier Lives.

Read more about

  • National Science Challenges on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website.
  • Ageing Well on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website.
  • Healthier Lives on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website.

Filed under: Collaborations, Funding

New Ageing Well publication released

A new publication – ‘Aging in New Zealand: Ka haere ki te ao pakeketanga’, written by some members of the Ageing Well National Science Challenge Strategic Advisory Group has been released by The Gerontologist on 2 May 2020.

This manuscript summarises the ageing experience in New Zealand, including research strengths, unique datasets, funding opportunities and policies that support positive ageing. This manuscript will facilitate discussion amongst international gerontology researchers, funding agencies, and policy writers with the vision that they may identify solutions to trial or avoid when addressing the needs of their country’s older citizens.

Read this manuscript here.

Filed under: Publications, Research

News with Dr Hamish Jamieson

Dr Hamish Jamieson, Ageing Well NSC Principal Investigator, was recently filmed for a story for One News on the impact of COVID 19 on loneliness and older adults.

In this story, Dr Jamieson suggests the New Zealand government consider the timeframe of the lockdown period, as both mental and physical health are likely to deteriorate in older adults if lockdown extends.

You can watch this story here.

Read more about Dr Hamish Jamieson’s work, as well as other Ageing Well research, here.

Filed under: Press, Research

Chair Announced New Directorate

Dr Dianne C McCarthy, Chair of Ageing Well National Science Challenge Governance Group, announced the new Directorate of Ageing Well on 2 April 2020.

Associate Professor Louise Parr-Brownlie (Ngāti Maniapoto me Te Arawa) has been appointed the Director and Professor David Baxter returned to the Directorate as Co-Director until 31 December 2020. Professor Debra Waters resigned from the Director role to focus on her national and international research projects. Louise and Dave thank Debra for her leadership and dedication to Ageing Well over the last 6 years. Louise commented that “over the next two years Ageing Well will be focusing on amplifying the impact of findings by our dedicated research teams. It is a pleasure to welcome Dave back to the team, and draw on his expertise as Ageing Well continues to provide evidence to help all New Zealanders to reach their full potential into the later years of life.”

Associate Professor Louise Parr-Brownlie
A/Prof Louise Parr-Brownlie
Prof David Baxter
Filed under: Our people

Podcast with Dr Michal Boyd

Associate Professor Michal Boyd

“Goals of Care in End-Stage Dementia” Podcast with Dr Michal Boyd

Associate Professor Michal Boyd is the Principal Investigator on Ageing Well National Science Challenge research on “Neurodegeneration and Individual Interventions.” This study investigates end-of-life neurodegenerative care and the potential benefits of individualised care. Associate Professor Boyd spoke on the Goodfellow Podcast (produced by The Good Fellow Unit) about her work on Dementia and end-stage care.

In the podcast Associate Professor Boyd encourages people to think about a care continuum, with Residential Age Care as part of that continuum. Within this care continuum she discusses elder abuse, tools for identifying elder abuse, carer fatigue, as well as cultural considerations for Māori Dementia patients.

Associate Professor Boyd shares practical information and resources for patients, families and health care practitioners. You can listen to the podcast here. Read more about Associate Professor Boyd’s work, as well as other Ageing Well research, here.

Filed under: Press

Emergent Opportunities Funding

Ageing Well National Science Challenge is pleased to announce the awarding of  “Emergent Opportunities” grants. The Emergent Opportunities grants were established to provide funding for unexpected research ideas that have been identified from Ageing Well projects in Phase One. While the projects must develop ideas, methodologies, tools or technologies that emerged from Phase One projects, the proposed projects must also align with the Ageing Well Phase Two Focus Areas: Health and Well-being in Ageing and Ageing and Māori.

Each project award is for up to $200,000, for a period of 12 months. Four projects have been funded under the Health and Well-being in Ageing focus area and one under the Ageing and Māori focus area. 


Associate Professor Michal Boyd, University of Auckland – School of Nursing
Developing an early warning system to recognise resident deterioration in residential aged care.

This work extends on the “Neurodegeneration and Individualised Interventions” project which used a co-design approach to develop the Frailty Care Guides. These guides were successfully completed and have recently been disseminated nationally. The current project seeks to complement the Frailty Care Guides by developing an evidence-based and user-friendly, Early Warning System (EWS) for early identification of residential deterioration in residential aged care (RAC). Currently, no systematic EWS exists for RAC in New Zealand.

Dr Ofa Dewes, University of Auckland – School of Nursing
Building connections as we age: From younger carers to societies.

This intergenerational family caring phenomenon was identified as a significant area for future research in Dr Dewe’s Phase One project, “Tāpinga ‘a Maama: Pacific Life and Death in Advanced Age.” The current project aims to provide new evidence-based information to address the needs of younger carers caring for older adults to support the development of more effective and efficient provisions of responsive healthcare and social support services. This should produce better health, education and employment outcomes.

Professor Merryn Gott & Dr Lisa Williams, University of Auckland – School of Nursing
Promoting social connection through challenging public attitudes: a participatory project with older people.
The Phase One project, “Social Isolation and Loneliness” explored older people’s understanding and experience of loneliness, social isolation and social connection within the culturally diverse context of New Zealand. This resulted in a 5 minute animation titled Elder Birdsong  incorporating the research core themes. The current project aims to co-create with older people and middle school students a film about later life loneliness and social connectedness, focusing on the potential value of inter-generational social connection.

Dr Hamish Jamieson, University of Otago
Reducing social isolation with big data.
“Risk Factors in Reduced Social Engagement” (Phase One project) found many challenging social factors and loneliness in older people, and early entry into aged residential care facilities. The current project will apply more sophisticated research techniques to look for longitudinal patterns and possible causal relationships leading to the risk factors identified in the Phase One project. Findings from this project will have the potential to be used to modify the care plans of the 120,000 older New Zealanders who have an assessment using the interRAI.


Dr Catherine Love & Mr Charles Waldegrave, Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit
He Huarahi Whakapakari Kaumātuatanga: A Kaumātua future proofing tool.

From the Phase One “Loneliness and Isolation” project it was found that while loneliness as measured on a standard international scale, captures universal aspects of loneliness, it does not capture Māori specific aspects. As a consequence, service planning and policy setting may be working from imprecise evidence. The current project will develop an innovative “Kaumātua Future Proofing Tool” using the quantitative evidence from the Phase One research and some co-created qualitative research. This tool will provide an evidence-based checklist for people, organisations and Ministers designing services for a growing ageing Māori population.

Filed under: Funding

Collaborative Research Partnerships


Collaborative Research Partnerships – Dr Dan Tautolo presents at the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) Congress

Dr Dan Tautolo, the Principal Investigator of Ageing Well funded Pacific Islands Families research, presented at the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) Asia Oceania Congress in Taipei, Taiwan. Dr Tautolo spoke about the Pacific Grandparents Study in a talk titled, “Navigating between Islands – fostering connections and engaging older Pacific adults in a collaborative research partnership”.

The presentation summarised the project, focusing on the participatory action research approach. “Our primary focus of utilising culturally appropriate strategies and processes was to engage and develop a co-researcher relationship with our Pacific older people, to ensure that our project identified and addressed the issues which were directly relevant for them”, explains Dr Tautolo.

The presentation generated much interest amongst the audience, particularly around the study design and the need to tailor research to be culturally sensitive in order to improve the likelihood of successful uptake and impact.

Dr Tautolo is hopeful that, “potential international collaborations in ageing research may result from discussions at the conference.”

In addition to being a funding source, Dr Tautolo acknowledged Ageing Well National Science Challenge as a, “mechanism providing the research platform for this kind of research on ageing within Pacific families and communities.”

Dr Louise Parr-Brownlie, Co-Director Māori, Ageing Well National Science Challenge agrees, explaining that “National Science Challenges were developed to ‘do science differently.’ Dr Tautolo’s team co-designed questions and conducted research with Pacific families and their communities in culturally appropriate ways to enhance health outcomes.”

This study has allowed for participant-proposed solutions and action plans to be developed and implemented, to enhance the well-being of older Pacific people. “While the New Zealand Pacific population is quite youthful, there is a growing proportion of older Pacific people, and thus research of this kind will become more and more relevant and important,” he adds. Dr Tautolo, his team and their community of participants are actively demonstrating the benefits of collaborative research partnerships, especially among a population that is often isolated and unheard.

“Ageing Well National Science Challenge funds the best teams to deliver equitable outcomes for New Zealand’s diverse older communities,” Dr Parr-Brownlie added.

Learn more about Dr Tautolo’s Pacific Islands Families research here.

Filed under: Collaborations, Funding

Frailty Care Guides Launched

Associate Professor Michal Boyd

Associate Professor Michal Boyd launched “The Frailty Care Guides” at The Selwyn Institute’s Gerontology Nursing Conference in Auckland on 4 October, 2019.  

The Frailty Care Guides were developed as part of Ageing Well National Science Challenge, in collaboration with the Health Quality and Safety Commission New Zealand. The project was led by Associate Professor Boyd. “Frailty is now recognised as a separate and distinct syndrome and there are many interventions that can help to increase a person’s resilience who are at risk of frailty.  The Frailty Care Guides provide concise guidance on common issues associated with frailty”, explains Dr Boyd.


The guides comprise 26 practical tools covering the full spectrum of frailty, from deterioration and specific health concerns to communication and advance treatment planning. “I’m very excited to see the Frailty Care Guides launched. I know they will be a valuable resource for all providers that care for the complexity associated with frailty”, says Dr Boyd. The Frailty Care Guides can be used in any setting where people at risk of frailty receive care.

Ageing Well National Science Challenge, Director, Associate Professor Debra Waters, commented that “the launch and uptake of the Frailty Guidelines developed by Associate Professor Michal Boyd and her team in collaboration with the Health Safety and Quality Commission, is another example of impact from the research funded by the Ageing Well National Science Challenge.  We congratulate the team for this outcome that will positively affect the lives of some of our most vulnerable citizens.”

The launch of these guides was met with enthusiasm from the almost 300 people in attendance. The guides are available from the Health Quality and Safety Commission website:

Filed under: Publications, Research

Ageing Well National Conference

Ageing Well Directors with Minister Tracey Martin

In November 2019 Ageing Well National Science Challenge hosted our National Conference – Ageing Well Together: Science, Policy and Translation

The Honourable Tracey Martin, Minister for Seniors, opened our huihui with passionate words about the need for a Ministry of Seniors. She set the energy for the day by placing our seniors firmly at the centre of important conversations, such as the future of work, health and social connectedness. The huihui was closed by Dr Louise Parr-Brownlie, Co-Director, Māori, Ageing Well National Science Challenge. Drawing on the conversations throughout the day Dr Parr-Brownlie echoed the sentiment that, “loneliness [for older people] is considered the new smoking.” 

Dr Parr-Brownlie spoke of Ageing Well’s focus on enabling all New Zealanders to reach their full potential through the life course, with particular reference to the latter years of life, “we are achieving this by funding excellent research led by the right teams who are creative, rigorous, hard working and inspire the Directorate to work hard for the communities they and we are serving.”

Ageing Well, Director, Associate Professor Debra Waters remarked, “we were very pleased with this conference, which showcased the achievements and impact this research is having on communities across New Zealand.  The passion to achieve this impact was clear from both the researchers and the audience.”

You can find information about our speakers we had on the day and their abstracts at our conference website here. Conference presentations and photos will be made available shortly. 

Filed under: Events

Ageing and Māori Funding


In June 2019, Ageing Well National Science Challenge was allocated $20.3M in funding as part of the second phase of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) research investment. Over the next five years (July 2019 – June 2024), Ageing Well will utilise this funding to address two focus areas of research: Health and Wellbeing in Ageing and Ageing and Māori. The Health and Wellbeing in Ageing research will provide older New Zealanders with the opportunities and tools to support their own physical and mental abilities.  The Ageing and Māori research will contribute to positive Māori ageing through Māori-led research undertaken in collaboration with key stakeholders. 

Ageing Well allocated $10M in 2019 to fund research programmes in these two focus areas. This funding was distributed equally between the Health and Wellbeing in Ageing and Ageing and Māori research areas. Dr Louise Parr-Brownlie, Co-Director Māori, confirmed that “Ageing Well is committed to equitable outcomes for kaumātua. We have invested half of our funding into programmes that will support positive Māori ageing. This is critical because the number of older Māori will more than double in the next 20 years.”

Today, Ageing Well is delighted to announce the awarding of $5M towards the Ageing and Maōri programme of research. The Director of Ageing Well, A/Prof Debra Waters, said “I am thrilled the Challenge is funding two high quality programmes of research that will positively impact Māori kaumātua and their whānau both now and into the future.”

Tai Kaumātuatanga Older Māori Wellbeing and Participation: Present and Future Focus
Dr Catherine Love – Programme Leader
$2.5M (2019-2023)

As the number of older Māori increases there is a need to develop more information about their strengths and vulnerabilities. This research, through a country wide survey asking kaumātua about their experiences and quality of life, and a two year follow up, aims to provide information for policy formation, environmental planning and culturally responsive services. This survey will also be complemented by an in-depth qualitative study that asks them about their lives as kaumātua and their understanding of their roles, inter-generational relationships and the knowledge they pass on. The research will be co-designed with them to ensure that it can be of the most use to them and the groups they belong to. The research findings will contribute to better service provision and strengthen kaumātuatanga and kaumātua contribution to whānau and the country. 

Kaumātua Mana Motuhake Pōi: Enhancing Wellbeing, Social Connectedness and Cultural Identity
Professor Brendan Hokowhitu – Programme Leader
$2.5M (2019-2023)

This research aims to build on kaumātua strengths to enhance hauora (holistic approach to health) and mana motuhake (autonomy, identity and self-determination) through collaborative research network including academic and community researchers, kaumātua service providers and other stakeholders.  Two health research projects will be conducted: i)  a tuakana-teina peer educator model where kaumātua help other kaumātua in need to identify and utilise key health and social services and ii) an inter-generational model for increasing physical activity and cultural knowledge exchange including te reo Māori. The projects include co-design and co-implementation processes with kaumātua, kaumātua service providers and other health and social service experts. Hauora and mana motuhake will be measured before and after the projects are implemented. The anticipated impacts include the creation of culturally appropriate and sustainable projects that support kaumātua to age well.

Congratulations to the research teams and thank you to our community for your continued support. 

Filed under: Funding

Funding Announcement

Health and Well-being in Ageing

group of elderly

In November 2018, we announced the successful refunding of the Ageing Well National Science Challenge through to 2024. We were awarded $20.3 million to continue our work, specifically focusing on two research areas: Health and Wellbeing in Ageing and Ageing and Maori.

prof ngaire kerse Today we are delighted to announce that $5 million of funding has been awarded to the Ageing Well through Eating, Sleeping, Socialising and Mobility Programme (AWESSoM) headed by Professor Ngaire Kerse from the University of Auckland. Professor Kerse is the Joyce Cook Chair in Ageing Well and continues to be a tireless advocate for healthy and positive ageing. The AWESSoM programme is being funded under the Health and Wellbeing in Ageing research area of the Ageing Well National Science Challenge.

AWESSoM is a timely addition to the area of health and wellbeing in ageing, featuring a comprehensive approach to understanding ageing by investigating the areas of mobility, oral health, healthy sleep, eating and socialising. Doing so within a whānau co-designed programme in health, combining western and Mātauranga Māori knowledge and practice.

Together, AWESSoM and Ageing Well look forward to embarking on new and exciting ways of doing science in the area of ageing in New Zealand. We are particularly excited about the behavioural change tool, the LifeCurve™ app, a component of the AWESSom programme.  This app will be developed, tested and adapted for Māori, Pacific and Pakeha to assist in preventing the progression of disability by identifying older people with poor oral health, cognitive impairment and trial a comprehensive intervention in care homes.  

The programme will be trialled with a diverse population of older people with the aim of providing older New Zealanders the opportunities and tools to support their own physical and mental abilities. It also acknowledges the importance of adequate support for whānau who are involved in the care of their kaumātua. We are confident that the community-driven approach and the partnerships with community and health care organisations in this programme will ensure the best chance of success and impact.

The Director of Ageing Well National Science Challenge, Associate Professor Debra Waters describes this as, “an exciting programme of research building from Tranche 1 research and researchers while bringing additionality and refresh to the Challenge through new research ideas and researchers coming into the Ageing Well Challenge for the first time.”

The AWESSoM team consists of teams from the University of Auckland, University of Otago, Tū Ora Compass Health, Allied Health Scientific and Technical Bay of Plenty District Health Board, The Centre for Health, Massey University, Auckland University of Technology, and Newcastle University in the UK. This is a wonderful reflection of the multi-disciplinary and collaborative research that the National Science Challenges were set up to promote.

Congratulations once again to the AWESSoM team. Ageing Well are incredibly excited for our next phase of innovative research in the area of ageing and making a difference to the ageing landscape in New Zealand and internationally. To our community, we thank you for your continued support and look forward to sharing with you the great work we aim to complete in the next five years.

Filed under: Funding

New Communications Manager

Ageing Well is delighted to announce that we have appointed a new Communications Manager: Dr Vanisha Mishra-Vakaoti.  

Vanisha has a PhD from the Australian National University with a background in Psychology and Social Research. She has previously worked as an independent research consultant, helping organisations plan and conduct research and produce knowledge products for a variety of audiences. Through her experience she has developed skills related to social impact storytelling and digital storytelling.

As we enter our second phase, Vanisha is excited to help promote all the amazing work that has and is being done by our researchers.  You can contact her on email at and via phone on: 021 279 1514

Filed under: Our people

Catalyst: Leaders

On behalf of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the Royal Society of New Zealand has opened the third call for Catalyst: Leaders.

Catalyst: Leaders supports incoming and outgoing targeted international fellowships for exceptional individuals that cannot be supported through other means.

For further information visit Royal Society of New Zealand Website.

Filed under: Funding

Well Balanced: Improving strength and balance at any age


The Ageing Well National Science Challenge has teamed up with students in the University of Otago’s Centre for Science Communication and co-developed an interactive exhibit at the Otago Museum called “Well Balanced”.

University of Otago Associate Professor Debra Waters from the Ageing Well Management Directorate worked with Science Communication Professor Nancy Longnecker and 16 Science Communication postgraduate students on the project.

Balance and strength change across our lifetime, but improvements can be made at almost any time – so the exhibition is about encouraging people to keep moving and to age well.

Designed to be a fun, interactive and educational experience for all ages, the exhibition consists of a series of activities based around strength and balance.

Participants can learn about and undertake activities with a Wii Fit, hula hoops, devices to test hand and trunk strength, challenges for nimble fingers and dexterity, and testing balance on a wobble board – all with the aim of testing and learning how to improve strength and balance.

The opening of the exhibition at the Otago Museum on 11 November 2016 was very successful, with everyone from children to older adults trying the different exhibits, having fun and learning more about their own strength and balance.

The exhibition will be on display till the 29th of January 2017.

For more information about this exhibit, pleased visit our Well Balanced page

Filed under: Press, Research

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

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.

Filed under: Funding

Ageing Well NSC Exhibition at Otago Museum

Balance and strength changes across our lifetime, and improvements can be made at most times.

The Ageing Well National Science Challenge teamed up with the Otago Museum and students at the University of Otago’s Centre for Science Communication to co-develop an interactive exhibition called “Well Balanced”.

This fun, interactive and educational exhibition is for all ages. Come along at 4:00pm on the 11th of November at the inauguration.



Filed under: Events, Research

SNAP: Stakeholders identify research priorities

Groups write up their research ideas.
Stakeholders formulate their priorities for research.

Over 100 participants took part in Ageing Well’s second annual forum in Wellington in September.

Researchers, stakeholders, and interested individuals contributed to a day exploring opportunities for developing stakeholder-led research.

Following an address by Hon Steven Joyce, speakers from Ageing Well, and special invited guests, participants identified six areas of research:

  • The economics of ageing and an ageing population
  • The importance of transforming transport options for older people
  • The differences between rural and urban health needs for ageing Māori
  • Identifying the social needs of older people in immigrant communities
  • What kind of resources are going to be needed for disabled older people
  • Developing the built environment for an ageing population

Report now available

A comprehensive report on the day has been developed. It provides an overview of the information provided by attendees on where future areas of research could be focused, and how the Challenge could facilitate stakeholder-led research. Comments and questions are most welcome and can be directed to Associate Professor Debra Waters:

A summary of the day’s proceedings is also available:

2016 Ageing Well National Science Challenge SNAP event




Filed under: Events

Professor Valery Feigin’s work acknowledged

Professor Valery Feigin, a member of Ageing Well’s Scientific Leadership Team, has recently been awarded a Health Research Council (HRC) established researcher award as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations. The award recognised his outstanding contribution to understanding stoke and traumatic brain injury.

Professor Feigin has been involved in 16 HRC studies since 2000, leading four projects and also the influential programme the Auckland Regional Community Stroke study.

Valery and his team were pioneers in exposing differences in stroke trends between developing and developed countries, the increased burden of stroke worldwide, and the impact of air pollution.

You can read more about recent findings in Professor Feigin and colleagues’ article in Nature Reviews Neurology, July 2016:

Prevention of stroke: a strategic global imperative

Read more about Professor Feigin’s Ageing Well research and bio:

Ageing Well’s stroke prevention research

Ageing Well Science Leadership Team bios

Filed under: Awards