About Us

Te Aka Mātauranga Matepukupuku is the largest cancer research centre in Aotearoa New Zealand and is co-led by Māori. It was established in late 2022, and now connects over 400 researchers from multiple backgrounds, disciplines and institutions.


We are one of the University of Auckland’s seven flagship research centres. Our research support structures help break down silos and foster transdisciplinary research that is both world-class and locally relevant. We support excellence and equity of health outcomes. We view cancer through the lens of the patient journey. Our focus includes developing the cancer research workforce, reducing inequity and promoting transdisciplinary cooperation. This is our role – a unifying force to drive science forward for the betterment of all those whom cancer will affect.

Many of us will die with cancer and some of us will die of cancer. The whole point of life-changing research in this area is to make the latter less common.

Dr Andrew Shelling

Director Strategy & Research, Te Aka Mātauranga Matepukupuku

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


Our mission is to lead cancer research and treatment in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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 relevance both in New Zealand and globally.

Health Inequities


Cancer doesn’t discriminate, but inequities woven into our society result in inequitable outcomes, particularly for Māori.

We are aiming to change that.

We want to address issues of inequity in all areas of the cancer pathway from prevention strategies to diagnosis, treatment and outcomes.

Dr Peter Browett

Director Translational Research, Te Aka Mātauranga Matepukupuku

Māori don’t live seven years less than non-Māori because of some fluke of genetics. It’s because of how our society is set up. Equity is about remedying uneven outcomes in health and wellbeing that are avoidable and unjust.

Dr George Laking

Director Manutaki Haumanu Māori, Te Aka Mātauranga Matepukupuku

Recent research has shown that Māori are twice as likely to die from cancer as non-Māori. In fact, life expectancy is seven years shorter for Māori than for non-Māori. When it comes to cancer, Māori access services less, feel less comfortable in the environment, and tend to be diagnosed later, when the cancer is worse.

The Waitangi Tribunal Health Services and Outcomes Inquiry found that the health system as a whole is inequitable for Māori. “…the principles of participation, protection, and partnership that inform Māori approaches to health policy were ‘outdated and need to be reformed.'”