Maria Hepi

Senior Social Scientist

Maria has a background in bi-cultural research. After finishing her Masters thesis in 2001 Maria started working at ESR and is one of the original members of the social systems team. She has undertaken a range of cross-cultural projects from supporting Māori community development through environmental health, exploring how mātauranga-informed management can play a role in harbour health and looking for better health outcomes for Māori/iwi.

Being Pākehā and being involved in te ao Māori gives Maria a good understanding of both cultures. She says that her job as a bicultural researcher is not helping Māori see things from a Pākehā perspective, it is helping Pākehā see how Māori view the world. It is about understanding different perspectives of both world views and how these converge or diverge to achieve common goals held by both cultures.   

Current projects include:

  • HRC Tobacco Research Programme - Whakahā o Te Pā Harakeke.
  • Why do Māori have the lowest notified rates of yersiniosis?
  • Making use of wastewater from aircraft and individual buildings for better infectious disease epidemiology and response
  • Oxford Nanopore Sequencing implementation

Maria’s recent publications can be found on Research Gate here (external link)(external link)