Current Projects

Homes Built for Real Lives, Great Futures

Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities - National Science Challenge

This project is being led by Dr Kay Saville-Smith, CRESA, with the multidisciplinary research team. Read more about the project here. The funding for the research programme comes from the government’s Science Challenge: Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities. The vision of the Challenge is Ka ora kāinga rua: Built environments that build communities.

A Māori case study within this project focuses on two main questions:

  1. What makes a house a home for whānau Māori?
  2. Does low cost housing for whānau strengthen their whānau ora?

A wide range of people are being invited to share their views on what low-cost housing is, what whānau ora is, and/or how they see housing and whānau ora being linked. A report will then be written about what people have said.

If you'd like to contribute to this study in 2018, contact Fiona Cram (

Getting Decisions for Homes and Cities that Work

Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities - National Science Challenge

This project is being facilitated by Professor Larry Murphy, University of Auckland, Kay Saville-Smith, CRESA, and Professor Iain White, University of Waikato. This research explores the roles of people and institutions in the decision-making that shapes our homes, towns and cities. Understanding this system of decision-making - the resource holders, the people/actors, and the regulatory agents (e.g., banks, councils) - will create opportunities to intervene for better outcomes. Visit the reporting page for this project here.

A Māori case study within this research programme is following an Iwi (tribe) on their journey to support the housing aspirations of their hapū (sub-tribes), whānau (families) and people. Find out more about this case study here

Life When Renting: Enabling Older People's Independence in the Tenure Revolution, 2016-2019

Ageing Well National Science Challenge

The project is being led by Kay Saville-Smith, CRESA, with the research team including Dr Bev James, Dr Jacqueline (Jackie) CummingDr Elsie Ho, Dr Robin Kearns, Dr Natalie Jackson, Dr Fiona Cram and Ruth Fraser.

Find out more about this research project at the Good Homes website.

Ngā Tau Tuangahuru - Māori and Pacific Education Initiative 10-year longitudinal evaluation, 2015-2025

Foundation North, in conjunction with the Centre for Social Impact

The Māori and Pacific Education Initiative (MPEI) was Foundation North's (previously the ASB Community Trust) flagship investment in community-based programmes and services to improve educational outcomes for Māori and Pacific children and young people. 
Overall these initiatives have been very successful in engaging students and their families in education, and facilitating students’ educational achievement. Students have caught up with and often surpassed the expectations of educational success set by national achievement standards.

This longitudinal study explores what happens to these students in the longer term, after they have stayed with an initiative for some time or moved on to other educational or employment opportunities. We ask whether the gains achieved by students will have a long-lasting impact upon their lives and the lives of those around them. The study is a collaborative endeavour with five of the MPEI initiatives - asking questions that are important to them, and building the capacity of community researchers through their involvement with the study. The first round of data collection will occur in 2017.

In late 2016 the study was given the name Nga Tau Tuangahuru, which translates to ‘looking beyond for ten more years’, by Foundation North Kaumatua Kevin Prime.


Trotman, R., Cram, F., Samu, T., Becroft, M., Theodore, R., Trinick, T. with Pt England Primary School, Manaiakalani, Sylvia Park School, Rise UP Trust, He Puna Marama Trust, Oceania Careers Academy & High Tech Youth. Investing in ‘success’ as Māori and Pacific: The collaborative development of Ngā Tau Tuangahuru, a longitudinal study. Evaluation Matters - He Take Tō Te Aromatawai4, 87-100.

Whānau Manaaki, 2016-2021

Health Research Council of New Zealand programme grant to the Centre for Women's Health Research, University of Victoria, Wellington

This project is being led by Dr Beverley Lawton, alongside Dr Stacie Gellar, Dr Fiona Cram and Dr Liza Edmonds. 

Whānau Manaaki is a Kaupapa Māori research programme that builds on our joint work and research findings to address Māori maternal-child health disparities. It puts the woman and her whānau at the centre and explores the health care delivery system and structural determinants of health (e.g. housing, racism, transport, income, education) that impact on the health and well being of Māori women and their babies. This will enable us to understand what needs ‘fixing’ to improve well-being for Māori whānau.