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Te Tohu Rapuora Medal

The Te Tohu Rapuora Medal recognises the contribution to Māori health leadership of a single researcher, research team, or community group. It may be awarded for a specific piece of research, an accumulated body of research, or a life-time contribution that has advanced Māori health.

Te Tohu Rapuora Medal image

Te Tohu Rapuora will be awarded to an individual, research team, or community group, whose work has demonstrated leadership, excellence, and contribution to advancing Māori health and/or knowledge. 

The recipient(s) will have worked in partnership with iwi or hapū, community, or other Māori health stakeholders in making their contribution to Māori health. 

The award recognises recipients who have ensured the translation and dissemination of their findings to maximise the uptake and impact of their work for the benefit of Māori. Additionally, the work being recognised will have contributed to fostering the capacity and capability of the Māori health research workforce, beyond the nominee’s own research career. 

The award is intended for research that is Māori-led; however, a research team or community group that includes non-Māori may be nominated.

As the award may recognise an accumulated body of research or life-time contribution, nominations may be received for work undertaken at any time.

The award is made annually and consists of a medal and a cash prize of $5000.

Call for nominations

Nominations are now being sought for the Health Research Council of New Zealand’s Te Tohu Rapuora. Please use the 2024 Te Tohu Rapuora Nomination Form found below and at the bottom of this page.

Nominations should include

  • the name and contact details of the nominee or main contact if nominating a research team or community group
  • a completed Te Tohu Rapuora Nomination Form (no more than three A4 pages) addressing the following criteria:
    - the nominee’s contribution to advancing Māori health and/or knowledge
    - how the nominee has partnered with iwi/hapū, community, or other Māori health stakeholders
    - how the nominee has ensured the translation and dissemination of their findings to enhance the uptake and impact of their research
    - demonstration of fostering capacity and capability of the Māori health research workforce
    - carefully selected (rather than comprehensive) supporting evidence in support of the nomination may be attached (no more than three A4 pages).

Nomination on behalf of others is acceptable, as is self-nomination. Nominations close at 1pm, Wednesday 1 May 2024 and should be directed to Ms Le-Shan Pomana Wesley via email at You can also direct all queries regarding Te Tohu Rapuora to this email address. If nominating a colleague, nominators must inform the nominee of the outcome. 

The Te Tohu Rapuora Medal will be presented at a Research Honours Aotearoa event held by the Royal Society Te Apārangi in the latter half of 2024. Accommodation and transport will be arranged for the recipient and a plus one (or two representatives from the team).  

Te Tohu Rapuora – previous recipients

2023 - Te Tātai Hauora o Hine – The National Centre for Women’s Health Research Aotearoa
Victoria University of Wellington, Te Herenga Waka – for their research that has made a real difference to the health of māmā, pēpi and whānau Māori over the past 20 years. With a strong focus on partnerships with iwi, their influential work includes contributing to changes in the national cervical screening programme to ensure it is safe and equitable for wāhine Māori.

2022 - Dr Tess Moeke-Maxwell and the Te Ārai Palliative Care and End of Life Research Group of the University of Auckland received the 2022 Te Tohu Raupora Medal for their outstanding research that has helped improve palliative care, end-of-life and tangihanga experiences for Māori kaumātua and whānau throughout Aotearoa. 

2021 - Dr Amohia Boulton of Whakauae Research Services Limited received the Te Tohu Rapuora Medal for her outstanding leadership and contribution that has helped advance Māori health services in Aotearoa. Dr Boulton is a passionate advocate for Māori-led solutions and leadership to achieve equitable health outcomes for Māori and works tirelessly to support the growth and development of the Māori research workforce nationally.

2020 - Dr Cherryl Waerea-i-te-rangi Smith received this year's medal for her role in establishing Te Atawhai o Te Ao in 2005 - an independent research institute to enable kaupapa Māori research that addresses Māori needs. Since then, she has gone on to lead and be a part of many influential Māori-focused health projects, including working with Māori Vietnam War veterans experiencing ongoing health issues; developing asthma support and self-management programmes for tamariki; and working with grandparents raising their mokopuna to help them get more support for their health and well-being needs.

2019 - Dr Matire Harwood who teaches at The University of Auckland’s Medical School while working as a GP at the Papakura Marae Health Clinic received this award for her outstanding leadership and contribution to Māori health. She is renowned for her work in developing and testing community interventions for long-term conditions such as asthma, stroke, heart disease and diabetes, and has excelled in her efforts to improve Māori health outcomes and achieve equity. 

2018 - Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato was the inaugural winner of this award for showing leadership and commitment in advancing Māori health research, knowledge, and wellbeing by working closely with iwi, hapu and other Māori health stakeholders. The Institute's research leaders are widely known and respected for their Kaupapa Māori methodologies and collaborations, and for building the capacity and capability of the Māori health research workforce.