Our Team

The Whakatika Research Project Advisory Board

Dr Cherryl Smith

Ngā Wairiki/Ngāti Apa, Ngai Tumapuhiarangi, Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Ngai Tahu

Organisation: Te Rūnanga o Ngā Wairiki/Ngāti Apa/Te Atawhai o te Ao

Dr Cherryl Waerea-i-te-rangi Smith is a grandmother and senior researcher. Her research focus is on whanau, hapu and iwi wellbeing. Current research work is on rangatahi wellbeing through reconnection to whenua and she is also part of a project that is undertaking the biggest survey of Maori experiences of racism to date.  She is an iwi representative for two regional health Boards and an advisor to the Ministry of Health.

Dr Donna Cormack

Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe

Organisation: University of Auckland,University of Otago

Dr Donna Cormack is a senior lecturer at Te Kupenga Hauora Māori, University of Auckland, and a senior researcher at Te Rōpū Rangahau Hauora a Eru Pomare, University of Otago. She teaches courses on Kaupapa Māori research, and critical and transformative research methodologies for health sciences. Her research and teaching focuses on issues of social justice, racism and other forms of oppression, and self-determination. She was born in Kawakawa, raised in Whanganui and lives in Te Whanganui-a-Tara with her partner and son. She is committed to critical, decolonial research practices and approaches that support Māori self-determination.

Prof Helen Moewaka Barnes

Te Kapotai, Ngāpuhi

Organisation: Whariki Research Centre, SHORE, Massey University

Professor Helen Moewaka Barnes has expertise in quantitative and qualitative methods and evaluation. She is the Director of Whāriki, a Māori research group and Co-Director of the SHORE & Whāriki Research Centre at Massey University. Her research areas include developing and growing research capacity, practice, and use; developing methods and methodologies within Māori paradigms; haputanga; wairua, affect, and national days; and, developing theoretical concepts, research, and restorative action around the health of people and the health of whenua.

Eljon Fitzgerald

Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga, Ngāti Kahungunu, Tuwharetoa, Rangitāne, Āmuri (Aitutaki)

Organisation: Aronui Ltd

Eljon Fitzgerald has been a lead researcher on many nationally significant research projects, and programmes. He was the project manager for New Zealand’s (NZ) first nationally representative longitudinal study of Māori households, and was a lead researcher of NZ’s first national study of the nutritional status and food behaviours of NZ children. Eljon’s resume includes major research projects dealing with leadership and teacher retention in Māori medium education, and current research exploring the impacts of racism on Māori in Aotearoa today.

Sister Makareta Tawaroa

Nga Paerangi, Ngati Tuera, Ngati Hinearo, Whanganui

Sister Makareta Tawaroa has many feathers in her cap, including:

  • Primary/Homeschool/Secondary/Speld Teacher;
  • Rangatiratanga/Social Analysis Tutor, 
  • Community Church Worker;
  • Established Te Kainga Wairua, Open House in Glasgow Street, Whanganui;
  • Editor of Mana Tangata Maori Newspaper;
  • Part of Media Team, Pakaitore Occupation, 1995;
  • Writer for Whanganui River Settlement Claims in the 80’s;
  • Trustee of Whanganui Regional Development Board, which established Te Korimako Health, first Maori Community Health Workers, Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority, Waipuna Health Clinic, Maori Community Law Centre,  Maori Bank;
  • Part of Community College River Team that set up Steps youth training programmes on River Marae for rangatahi;
  • Part of Labour Department Reac, Access, Maccess work training programmes;
  • Support worker for rangatahi in court every Monday;
  • Supported the Kura Kaupapa Maori O Atihaunui in my double garage, Glasgow St, Whanganui until the school was finally built at Putiki;
  • Stood for the Area Health Board in mid 1980s;  didn’t win a seat but got 5000 votes and helped to put Maori Health on the agenda;
  • Part of Tangata Whenua Liaison Group of the Sisters of St Joseph, learning together how to be honourable Tangata Tiriti;
  • Part of Asia Partnership for Human Development, a group that held interreligious dialogue with the religions and cultures of Asia in an attempt to understand the liberating values of their cultures;
  • Whanau Ora Tutor;
  • Nanny to mokopuna;
  • Gardener since 3 years old;
  • Paematua Nga Paerangi;

Helena Rattray-Te Mana

Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi, Ngāi Tahu

Organisation: Te Atawhai o Te Ao

Helena Rattray-Te Mana is a former software programmer and an experienced qualitative researcher and project manager. Helena is solution-driven and takes pride in providing the best research possible. Her interests include Māori health and well-being equities.