Achieving health equity in Aotearoa: strengthening responsiveness to Māori in health research

N Z Med J. 2017 Nov 10;130(1465):96-103.


Excellent health research is essential for good health outcomes, services and systems. Health research should also build towards equity and in doing so ensure that no one is left behind. As recipients of government funding, researchers are increasingly required to demonstrate an understanding of their delegated responsibilities to undertake research that has the potential to address Māori health needs and priorities. These requirements form the basis of responsiveness to Māori in health research, and several research institutions have implemented systems to support their organisational approach to this endeavour. However, many health researchers have a narrow view of responsiveness to Māori and how it might be relevant to their work. In this viewpoint paper we provide an overview of existing frameworks that can be used to develop thinking and positioning in relation to the Treaty of Waitangi and responsiveness to Māori. We also describe an equity-based approach to responsiveness to Māori and highlight four key areas that require careful consideration, namely: (1) relevance to Māori; (2) Māori as participants; (3) promoting the Māori voice, and; (4) human tissue. Finally, we argue for greater engagement with responsiveness to Māori activities as part of our commitment to achieving equitable health outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / standards
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Female
  • Health Services Research / standards*
  • Health Services, Indigenous / standards*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander*
  • New Zealand
  • Research Personnel / standards*