About Us

Te Aka Mātauranga Matepukupuku, the Centre for Cancer Research, hosted by the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, was formally established in August 2020 following approval by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and the University’s Research Committee.


Our Ingoa Māori means “the ascending vine of cancer knowledge”.


Te Aka Mātauranga Matepukupuku is now the largest cancer research centre in Aotearoa New Zealand and will be co-led by Māori. It connects 320 researchers from multiple backgrounds, disciplines and institutions.  It links their work meaningfully and equitably with community aspirations, in multiple domains including cancer prevention, science, care, and workforce development. The Centre is unique in Aotearoa New Zealand for its breadth of expertise, its ability to bridge research and clinical practice, and its wide-ranging community partnerships that help it focus on improving health outcomes while reducing inequity for all New Zealanders.


The Centre provides a front door for cancer research at the University of Auckland, focusing on strategic areas relevant to Aotearoa New Zealand and enhancing sustainable business development and major gift philanthropy through a strong profile and a national presence.

Our Mission


Kei hopu tōu ringa ki te aka tāepa, engari kia mau ki te aka matua
Cling to the main vine, not the loose one


Cancer is the number one cause of mortality in Aotearoa New Zealand.  Tāngata Māori are disproportionately and unjustly affected by cancer.  Cancer research in Aotearoa New Zealand is increasingly diverse in range and scope.  Without underpinning scholarship, cancer research risks becoming siloed, disjointed, and unable to support excellence and equity of health outcomes.


The mission of Te Aka Mātauranga Matepukupuku, The Centre for Cancer Research, is to provide national leadership in transdisciplinary cancer research.  This will improve the understanding, care, prevention, and treatment of cancer in Aotearoa New Zealand, in a way that meets the needs of our communities.  The work will be of global relevance, not only for its content, but also for the way it is done.

Our Vision


Mā te huruhuru ka rere te manu
Give the bird feathers so it may fly


Te Aka Mātauranga Matepukupuku will be a place of global relevance.  Scholars of all ages, especially Māori and Pacific, will see it as the natural home for cancer studies in Aotearoa.  It will embed values of whanaungatanga (relationships) and whakapapa (inter-generational continuity).   It will unify the cancer research capacity of the University of Auckland and affiliates.  It will do societally relevant research that bridges disciplines.  It will make audible the voice of whānau and community affected by cancer.  It will generate scholarship to underpin improved health outcomes and equity.


Te Aka is the academic part of a Northern Region Integrated Cancer Service, alongside Te Pūriri o Te Ora (Northern Regional Cancer and Blood Service).  Through its community and professional relationships, Te Aka will create value as the “go-to for all things cancer research”.  Te Aka will be known for its scholarship across the spectrum of cancer.  Its scope will include biomedical science, technologies for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, development and evaluation of health technologies and services, and understanding of the meaning and role of cancer in society.