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Improving health outcomes for Pacific peoples

Pacific peoples in New Zealand experience the greatest disparities in health in comparison with the rest of the population. The Health Research Council is committed to reducing these inequities with solutions that work within Pacific communities.

Pacific girls' performance

Pacific health research contributes to the knowledge base and produces evidence for health, community and policy interventions.

In keeping with the vision of the New Zealand Health Research Strategy and Ala Mo’ui (which sets out the strategic direction for addressing the health needs of Pacific peoples), the HRC is continuing to develop capacity and capability in the Pacific health research workforce.

We support Pacific researchers to apply culturally-relevant methods and approaches to research which will be effective and meaningful in the communities they serve.

Examples of our commitment to Pacific research

  • The priority areas for research in New Zealand, as set by the HRC, Ministry of Health and Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, have been designed to address inequities in health, particularly those experienced by Pacific and Māori communities.
  • Each year, the HRC offers Pacific health professionals the opportunity to undertake research through our Clinical Research Training Fellowships – these enable medical, dental and allied Pacific health professionals to undertake a PhD or equivalent qualification with salary, university fees and research expenses covered for up to four years.
  • Since 2020, we have funded 81 Pacific career development awards, including 8 Pacific Health Clinical Research Fellowships.
  • In 2023, 8% of the HRC's lead investigators identified as Pacific.
  • In 2018, as part of our first initiative under the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD), the HRC and Ministry of Health jointly invested up to $2 million to support research into Māori and Pacific youth with mental health problems.