Whānau views on access to immunisation

About this study

Te Hunga Manenei is a study that aims to understand why some tamariki are not vaccinated on time. We know that getting tamariki vaccinated may not always be easy. That’s why we are designing survey questions to find out what barriers and difficulties whānau face when deciding about or accessing vaccinations for their tamaiti. This will help our services to work better for our whānau and their needs.

This study is part of a 4-year project developed by our colleagues in Australia and led by Professor Margie Danchin from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Melbourne. The Aotearoa New Zealand arm of the project is led by Professor Nikki Turner and Dr Esther Willing (Ngāti Toarangatira, Ngāti Koata, Ngā Ruahine). It is being carried out from the Immunisation Advisory Centre at the University of Auckland.

About the survey

The survey asks questions about whānau experiences and thoughts around immunisation. It has already been trialled in Australia and we are trialling it to see if it is appropriate for whānau in Aotearoa New Zealand. Parents of tamariki Māori under 5 years of age from South Auckland, Northland and Waikato regions will be invited to participate. We are surveying 680 parents, over 18 years old, with tamaiti aged up to 5 years.

Who approved and funded this research project?

This study has been approved by an independent group called the Health and Disability Ethics Committee, who checks that studies meet established ethical standards. This research is funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand under the name the Vaccine Barriers Assessment Tool (VBAT).

Benefits of this study

This will be the first survey worldwide that could help us understand difficulties and gaps in accessing childhood vaccination and why people might not choose vaccination for themselves or their whānau. The findings can be used to help support the immunisation programme in Aotearoa New Zealand to work better for our communities and whānau. A summary of the findings will be posted on this website.


If you have any questions or concerns about the study, you can contact:

Email Professor Nikki Turner

Email Dr Esther Willing

Email Study Project Manager

To talk to someone not involved with the study, you can contact an independent health & disability advocate on -- Ph: 0800555050 Email: | Website:

Or contact the health and disability ethics committee (HDEC) that approved this study on -- Ph: 0800 4 ETHIC |

Meet the team

Dr Margie Danchin

Professor Margie Danchin is a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) and Clinician Scientist, University of Melbourne, and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI). As leader of the Vaccine Uptake Group, MCRI, her research focuses on vaccine confidence and uptake, particularly amongst high risk-groups and in low and middle-income countries, and on effective risk communication. Margie is also committed to efforts to improve vaccine confidence and uptake in the Western Pacific Region, and globally.

Margie works closely with the media, is co-host of the RCH Kids Health Info podcast and is passionate about effective science communication.

Dr Esther Willing

Dr Esther Willing (Ngāti Toarangatira, Ngāti Koata, Ngā Ruahine) is a Senior Lecturer in Hauora Māori at Kōhatu – Centre for Hauora Māori at the University of Otago in Dunedin Her research focuses on the way in which health policy and health services can improve Māori health outcomes and address health inequities. She has been involved in immunisation research with IMAC for the past 10 years looking at improving immunisation coverage by taking a systems approach that removes barriers to accessing immunisation services and improves knowledge and decision-making for Māori whānau and communities.

Dr Emma Best

Academic, Medical Advisor


Dr Emma Best is a specialist Paediatrician, a graduate of Auckland University with specialist paediatric infectious training completed in Australia and Singapore.

Emma has worked with The Immunisation Advisory Centre since 2015. Currently, Emma’s role as a Medical Advisor involves working on health professional education programmes and educational materials, academic oversight of the biannual NZ national immunisation conference, on-call and general support of the IMAC 0800 number team and other IMAC clinical advice. Additionally, Emma works with IMAC to support translational research locally and internationally and provides support for evidence in antigen review to inform the NZ Immunisation schedule and the Immunisation Handbook Advisory Group.

Emma’s major interests include the impact of vaccination on child health. In particular, addressing important childhood infections such as varicella, pneumococcal, rotavirus, pertussis and measles.

Emma has led research in otitis media, measles, meningitis and childhood respiratory disease. She enjoys the balance between clinical work and research, which complement her passion for child health and the prevention of infectious disease.

Dr Janine Paynter

Dr Janine Paynter is a senior research fellow at the School of Population Health. She is a scientist with broad research experience which includes research on communicable and non-communicable disease, tobacco control. Equity is a valued theme across all Janine’s research. Her recent research projects have a focus on vaccine safety (Global Vaccine Data Network), pertussis epidemiology in adults (PEA funded by GSK), gender bias in ethnic/minority communities (HRC Explorer grant), and equity in the cardiovascular care continuum (Manawataki Fatu Fatu), Pacific Infant Care practices (HRC) and Developing an assessment tool to gauge barriers to vaccination (VBAT, HRC). Janine’s strengths are in study design, quantitative data analysis, team work and data linkage.

Maria Ngawati

Ko Tuhipa, Ko Hikurangi ngā maunga

Ko Taumārere, Ko Waiapu ngā awa

Ko Te Rito, Ko Hinemaurea ngā marae

Ko HineĀmaru, Ko Porourangi ngā Tūpuna

Ko Ngāti Te Ara/Ngāti Kōpaki, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti ngā Hapū

Ko Ngāti Hine, Ko Ngāti Porou ngā Iwi

Tīhei mauri ora, ki te Whai Ao, ki te Ao Mārama. Maria Ngawati is a māmā of five, a previous member of the Hāpai staff back in 2014 leading our Research and Evaluation workstream, Maria has worked across all parts of the tertiary education and health sectors for the majority of her career. Maria is a current PhD candidate, holds a Master’s degree in Health Science and trained as a Physiotherapist, so has a keen interest in health sciences and whānau wellbeing. Maria specialises in Health Workforce Development and will be heading the research unit at Hāpai Te Hauora.

Dr Jessica Kaufman

Dr Jessica Kaufman is a Research Fellow in the Vaccine Uptake group at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and an Honorary Fellow with The University of Melbourne and La Trobe University. She is a vaccine communication expert. Her current research focuses on interventions and policies to increase acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines and improve routine vaccine uptake across the lifespan. Jessica is a member of the steering committee for the Collaboration on Social Science in Immunisation (COSSI) and an editor with the Cochrane Consumers and Communication review group.

Maxine Ducker

No Inia, no Aotearoa ōku matua whangai

Kei te rangahau tonu au i ōku tupuna tūturu, engāri he Inia, he Māori, he Ingarihi ratou

Ko Maxine toku ingoa Maxine Ducker is a Māori Health Researcher at Hāpai Te Hauora.

Maxine holds a Bachelor of Management and Marketing, a Graduate Diploma in HR, and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Emergency Management from Auckland University of Technology. She has more than 20 years of health sector experience. At Hāpai Te Hauora she is contributing to various projects including Te Hunga Mānenei - a project with IMAC that is part of a larger study that aims to develop, test and implement a survey tool to measure attitudes and barriers to childhood vaccination and Pā Ora - a web-based tool developed to help whānau and hapori seeking access to Ministry of Health/community intelligence about locations of interest, vaccination and testing sites/events including mobile bus locales.

Lorraine Castelino

Lorraine is a clinical psychologist. She started her career as a clinician and researcher in the fields of drugs, alcohol and AIDS at organisations such as The International Labour Organisation at the United Nations. She has done research at Auckland University studying the effects on babies of pregnant mothers using methamphetamine. She has held project management roles such as the Associate manager at ADHB for mental health and suicide prevention. Lorraine is currently the project manager of the Vaccine Barriers Assessment Tool project at IMAC.

Last updated:
Oct 2022