Tū Kotahi Māori Asthma Trust

Tū Kotahi Māori Asthma Trust was formed in 1995 as a result of feedback from whānau and Māori providers in the Wellington rohe. The membership consisted of the Māori asthma providers and marae in the Wellington region. It became the first Māori Asthma Society in New Zealand. 

In 1997, Tū Kotahi was contracted by the Asthma Foundation of New Zealand to provide regional asthma coordination and training services for Māori in the wider Wellington rohe. 

In 1999, Tū Kotahi was contracted by the Hutt Valley District Health Board to provide asthma education and advocacy services to whānau in the wider Wellington rohe.  Tū Kotahi was contracted by Piki Te Ora ki Te Awakairangi Primary Health Organisation to deliver asthma education and advocacy services to Māori affected by asthma.

Tū Kotahi was set up specifically to meet the needs of Māori by providing education, support, advocacy and resources in asthma. Over the past five years Tū Kotahi has provided Kaupapa Māori Asthma Training to whānau in the Lower North Island. However some training has reached as far as the Chatham Islands.

In 2008 the Tū Kotahi Māori Asthma Trust Correspondence Course will offer to community health workers, nurses and asthma educators working in the community with Māori who suffer from asthma, a distance learning package. This Correspondence Course enables students to develop skills, knowledge and the attributes required to support their work in the Māori community with whānau who have asthma.


Māori Research Framework


Over the year Tu Kotahi have developed meaningful relationships with a number of passionate and committed researchers who have taken them under their wings and mentored them in the research realm.  These partnerships often extend beyond the researcher and Māori provider relationship.  For example over 20 years ago, at Kōkiri Marae, Professor Julian Crane trained Māori to become lay asthma educators in their communities.  This was a direct result of a Māori Asthma Review that was headed by Professor Eru Pomare back in the early 1990s.  One of the key recommendations from that study was that there should be ‘by Māori, for Māori’ services – this led to the establishment of the first Māori Asthma Society - Tu Kotahi. 

One of the first research studies the service participated in was in 2001 with Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman and the University of Otago focusing on housing, insulation, and heating.    This study was to start a journey for Tu Kotahi and Kōkiri Marae Keriana Olsen Trust that would see Tu Kotahi working on several studies looking at inadequate housing, primarily affecting Māori, Pacific, and low-income whānau.  In those early days, Tu Kotahi’s participation involved recruiting Māori for various studies.  It was hard back then, there was a lot of distrust amongst the Māori community toward research and researchers.  Tu Kotahi soon realised that to have confidence that whānau were safe at all stages of the research process, Tu Kotahi needed to be involved at all levels of the study.

Since then Tu Kotahi has built its credibility and capacity as a research partner and changed perceptions about research within the Māori community.  Tu Kotahi has worked in partnership with the University of Otago (Wellington Campus) and Massey University (Centre for Public Health Research) on a number of HRC-funded and Ministry of Health community research studies over the past twenty or more years.  This has ensured a strong partnership with the community sector and the establishment of key relationships with Māori and Pacific communities within the wider Wellington region.   

Tu Kotahi was instrumental in developing a Kaupapa Māori framework – ‘Whānau Tuatahi’ for researchers wanting to participate in research with Māori.   (see Appendix 1 for an example of this framework).  This research framework facilitates community–researcher partnerships as a way of giving voice to the concerns whānau have about their health and the aspirations they have for their wellness.

Tu Kotahi is now involved in all aspects of the research process, some of these studies have included: 

  • Oranga Waha (The Oral Health Research Priorities for Māori project) headed by Bridget Robson and the Eru Pomare Center;
  • Pukapuka Hauora Asthma Study, He Kura: Asthma Support for Māori Tamariki at School, Whiti Te Rā and the Health Literacy study with Dr Tristram Ingham and Bernadette Jones;
  • The C3 Cancer Research Study and the Multi Morbidity study with Diana Safati and Professor Louise Signal;
  • Warm Homes for Elder New Zealanders and the Warm Hearts Study with Professor Philippa Howden Chapman, Helen Viggers, and the He Kainga Oranga research unit – University of Otago;
  • the Zonnic Inhalator and Spray Study with Brent Caldwell.

Click on the link below for more detail about the Research Framework

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Research Service

Community Led Kaupapa Māori Research Unit

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Asthma and Respiratory Services

Helping whānau manage their asthma

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Bronchiolitis Services

Working with pepi with respiratory conditions

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Te Hā Oranga- COPD Services

Helping Whānau manage their COPD

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Well Homes

Regional Public Health, He Kainga Oranga, Sustainability Trust and Tu Kotahi Maori Asthma Trust have been contracted by the Ministry of Health to run the newly established Well Homes initiative.

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Phone 0508 KOKIRI - [email protected]

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