National | Health Research Council of New Zealand

HRC awards give researchers opportunity to pursue their passion

The Health Research Council have awarded around $500.000 to four up-and-coming Māori researchers from the University of Otago, in order to pursue world class projects that are aimed at improving the health and well-being of New Zealanders and to also contribute to the progress in these area’s on an international scale.

The four recipients are among 17 Otago health researchers and students are set to receive the latest funding through the HRC career development awards

PhD student Howard Maxwell who is also one of the four recipients centres his research on microbiology and his passion of limiting one of the fastest growing health crisis in the world which is the spread of antibiotic resistance.

“Resistance mechanisms have been observed for nearly every antibiotic in our arsenal,” says Maxwell.  He adds, “We are rapidly approaching a post-antibiotic era where no treatment will exist against seemingly insignificant infections.”

His motivation stems from growing up in the small township of Ōpōtiki in the eastern Bay of Plenty where the population there are predominantly Māori that are over represented in poor health. He says, his project excited him and makes him curious and is grateful the grant is giving him the opportunity to pursue his passion.

On the other hand the remaining three recipients have to put their summertime festive season plans on hold as they have all been awarded summer studentships that are all three months long.

Tobias Hoeta will focus on his research of evidence for pain assessment tools for Māori, Tiana Mihaere will focus on ethnic discrimination prevalence and health associations in New Zealand youth and Jordan Tewhaiti-Smith will be focusing on maximising Māori participation for measuring unmet need to secondary healthcare.