A new way of thinking
(Picture caption: Moana Research won the Pacific Social Enterprise category at this year's National Pacific Business Trust Business Awards.)
An innovative approach to ensuring Pacific families thrive and take the lead in their own wellness journey has seen Moana Research win the Pacific Social Enterprise category at the 2018 National Pacific Business Trust (PBT) Business Awards.
Having evolved from what was previously the TAHA Pacific Maternal and Child Health Service, Moana Research was formally launched in February.
Owned by a team of six people with a passion for improving maternal and child wellbeing in New Zealand, Moana Research’s vision is for Pacific children to receive the best start in life.
Moana Research’s Chief Executive Officer (Managing Director) Jacinta Fa'alili-Fidow says Moana Research is in a unique position where the skill sets and expertise of its team members as clinicians and researchers has enabled them to work across various sectors and allowed them to engage effectively with Pasifika communities.
“This has permitted the team to navigate independently in all the numerous forums advocating for maternal and child health, and provide a Pacific lens,” Jacinta says.
The team consisting of Dr Teuila Percival, Mary Roberts, Amio Ikihele, Dr Seini Taufa and Dudley Gentles is experienced and skilled in the areas of maternal, child and family health and wellbeing in New Zealand and the Pacific region, particularly in research and evaluation; training and workforce development; project management; and engaging new technologies as solutions, offering a Pacific-led approach to projects related to digital health and innovations.
With Pacific births making up 10.3 percent of all births in New Zealand, this group of professionals saw a need for an organisation such as Moana Research.
“While New Zealand has relatively good outcomes against a range of maternal clinical indicators, inequities exist among Māori, Pacific and mothers from low socio-economic backgrounds,” Jacinta says.
“The Pacific maternal workforce is also small and unable to meet the demand for Pacific midwives.
“TAHA was recognised as a first point of contact for Pacific maternal and child health by many stakeholders in the health sector.
“Moana Research plans to maintain this reputation, while further expanding on the health focus to address the broader determinants of health and wellbeing.”
Jacinta says the primary focus for Moana Research is evidence-gathering in light of the gap in the market for Pacific researchers in the maternal and child health space.
“The preference is for Moana Research-led projects. However, we recognise in some instances, partnership models are required to lead a Pacific component of a larger project focused on the wider population.
“Secondary to this, are opportunities for programme development, workforce training and advocacy.”
The organisation’s recent success at the PBT Business Awards, staged in Auckland during June, has given the team greater impetus in its work, along with encouragement to strive further in what it is trying to achieve, Jacinta says.
“This increased visibility has helped to promote our new entity and has given us a renewed confidence since stepping out on our own,” she says.
“We feel further acknowledged as experts in the Pacific maternal and child wellbeing space.”
The win at the awards which recognise Pacific businesses and social enterprises throughout New Zealand, has also prompted Moana Research to expand its focus and to merge business principles with those of its social enterprise initiatives to benefit Pacific communities, particularly for maternal and child wellbeing.
Moana Research aims to continue building momentum and has goals to be a leading agency in Pacific maternal and child wellbeing research, advocacy and programme development in New Zealand, and then globally.
It also has aims to launch a range of services and products that allow us to be self-sustaining by 2020.
“We want to work in the community where our work, our research and the projects we work on is owned by the community, stays in the community and not hidden away.” (Dr Teuila Percival, Director Moana Research)
Visit Moana Research for more information.