Flourishing Together: including tāngata whaikaha Māori and disabled people in health policy development


Research Framework

Creating an Enabling Society


To positively impact on the social determinants of health, tāngata whaikaha (disabled people) need to contribute to policy planning and programme development. However, they report not being able to engage in consultation processes meaningfully. Additionally, their advocacy recommendations may not be articulated in a way that policy planners can easily use. This gap contributes to inequities in health outcomes. Co-production methods can be used to improve the responsiveness of health-related policies.  

In this research, we are partnering with tāngata whaikaha Māori and non-Māori to co-produce policy advice around housing and home (kāinga) – developing a nuanced understanding of the contexts in which disabled people can access and maintain kāinga that meet their needs and aspirations.  

Alongside, we will develop innovative methods and tools that can be used in other policy planning spaces. These tools will empower and enable disabled people to create and articulate knowledge that better addresses equitable policy and programme development within Aotearoa, New Zealand. 


  • Tāngata Whaikaha Māori and non-Māori co-design theory-building workshops will develop theories about how kāinga (housing and a sense of home) works (or not), for whom, and in what circumstances to improve health-related outcomes.  
  • Qualitative survey responses gathered from tāngata whaikaha across NZ will explore contexts and resources (i.e., individual, social and environmental) that support them (or not) to access and maintain kāinga that meet their needs and aspirations.  
  • A realist review with embedded tāngata whaikaha co-production workshops will synthesise evidence and generate knowledge to inform the development of equitable NZ housing policy.  
  • Two key research outputs will be disseminated:  
    • housing policy recommendations 
    • innovative co-production methods and tools that empower tāngata whaikaha to create, synthesise and articulate knowledge to planners of health-related policy more generally. 

Status of Research

  • Ethical approval has been achieved and advisory groupings have been established.
  • A dedicated website has been started: flourishingtogether.co.nz.
  • Toi Āria| Design for Public Good [Massey University] have joined the team. Yipee! Check out their website here: www.toiaria.org
  • Katarina Teepa and Olivia Saint Merat have collated materials to inform best practice about co-production processes with tāngata whaikaha Māori and disabled people.
  • The co-production team has formed, and are sharing their experiences and expertise to develop the focus and scope of the ongoing research activities.
  • A protocol paper has been published.


The protocol paper is freely accessible here

Image description: Screenshot showing title of research protocol paper

Key Contact

Dr Rachelle Martin,
Burwood Academy
Phone:  +64 3 383 6871
Mobile:  +64 21 223 3362
Email: rachelle.martin@burwood.org.nz

Researchers and Collaborators

Angelo Baker [Kanaka Maoli]
Burwood Academy
Phone:  +64 3 383 6871
Email: angelo.baker@burwood.org.nz

Cate Grace [Ngāi Tahu / Kāi Tahu; Waitaha]
Burwood Academy
Phone:  +64 3 383 6871
Mobile: tel:+64 27 532 7248
Email: cate.grace@burwood.org.nz

Core research team: 

  • Dr Kirsten Smiler [TeAitanga-a-Māhaki; Rongowhakaata; Whakatōhea; Victoria University of Wellington]
  • Dr Lesley Middleton [Victoria University of Wellington]
  • Professor Jean Hay-Smith [University of Otago, Wellington]
  • Professor Nic Kayes [Auckland University of Technology]
  • Professor Anna Brown [Toi Āria, Massey University]

Research assistants:

  • Katarina Teepa [Ngā Ariki Kaiputahi; Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki]
  • Olivia Saint Merat