Maria Hepi

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

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




  • 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 brings depth and perspective to a number of ESR’s research projects, 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/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: 
    • Whakahā o Te Pā Harakeke. 
    • Why do Māori have the lowest rates of yersiniosis? 
    • Taking Kaupapa Māori, co-design, and community-based interventions to scale. 
    • Understanding the role of community voice within environmental health practice. 
    • Te hā o ngā tūpuna me ngā mokopuna: Understanding Māori wellbeing through a tūpuna whenua analysis 
    • Healthier Lives NSC: conceptual review of community voice 

  • Publications