“I hope to work towards some research outcomes that are directly beneficial to users and providers of such services; working on research that has practical goals, and is looking to lead to possible implementations to improve how we currently offer rehabilitation.”.

Dr Jonathan Hackney

Clinical Researcher


Since a young age, Jono has been curious about why people act in the ways that they do and always asked questions without simple answers. Through university and clinical experience, this turned into wanting to know more specifically about how our brains work and how people respond and recover following injury.  He has always been particularly interested in cognition and individual differences in how we think, how we express thoughts, and how thinking changes over time.

Jono’s interest in research began whilst undertaking postgraduate study at the University of Canterbury where he was undertaking his PhD looking at predicting cognitive decline in healthy older adults. This was alongside a larger study interested in trying to halt cognitive declines and mild cognitive impairment, although he was more interested in seeing whether it was possible to identify the at-risk groups ahead of obvious difficulties presenting, which would provide the best time for any potential interventions. As he moved into clinical practice he continued to be interested in the area of neurorehabilitation, and particularly looking at the differences in how individuals respond to injuries and rehabilitation.

Jono sees his role at BAIL as an opportunity to use his clinical experience and knowledge to explore some ways of making positive change in the lives of people who experience disability. There are always frustrations seen by clinicians working in these areas, so the projects BAIL is involved in provide an opportunity to do something about these frustrations and to make the most of being a clinician and a researcher.

Alongside this role he works as a neuropsychologist/clinical psychologist as part of rehabilitation MDTs at the Burwood Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service, and at Southern Rehab.  Working primarily in neurorehabilitation, he is also involved in pain management, training for independent living, and psychological services work for ACC.

Jono and his wife Leah are both from the North Island (Tauranga and Hawkes Bay), having relocated to Christchurch for his PhD seven years ago, and so he’s still a Chiefs and Northern Districts cricket supporter!  On the bedside table are always 2-3 books that he’s working his way through, with different ones getting picked up depending on the mood the day. They usually get finished… eventually…

His favourite place is at the beach, particularly up in the Coromandel, reading something interesting and listening to the crashing waves.

Qualifications and Experience:

PhD, PGDipClinPsych, PGCertHealSci (Clinical Rehabilitation), BSc(Hons) in psychology.

Jono completed his PhD and clinical psychology training at the start of 2017 and has been working clinically since this time. In 2018 he was accepted into the Neuropsychology scope of practice through the New Zealand Psychologists Board.