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Maria Hepi

Maria is a Senior Social Scientist in the social systems team.


She earned her Master of Art (Māori) from the University of Canterbury.


Maria is a Senior Social Scientist with ESR with expertise in bicultural research. She has over 20+ years of research experience at ESR and 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 through reducing health inequities for Māori. 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: • Whakahā o Te Pā Harakeke: Realising the vision for a smokefree future. • Understanding the surveillance barriers and the health burden of emerging disease threats for Aotearoa: Vibrio as a case study – looking at how to address health inequities for Māori in primary care in relation to enteric disease. • Making use of wastewater from aircraft and individual buildings for better infectious disease epidemiology and response – understanding Māori views and concerns regarding wastewater-based epidemiology.