Associate Professor Bridgette Masters-Awatere is a registered practising psychologist, an academic and an advocate for the improvement of Māori health outcomes. Alongside her mahi in health, she has been a leader in Kaupapa Māori Psychology studies.
Bridgette is the Director of the Māori and Psychology Research Unit (MPRU) and oversees the postgraduate professional registration programme known as Community Psychology. Additionally, she holds the position of Associate Dean Māori for the Division of Arts, Law, Psychology, and Social Sciences at Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato, the University of Waikato.
Bridgette is the youngest child of Rangiamohia Whetu and Hector Masters. Despite her parents' experience of corporal punishment for speaking te reo at their native schools and being part of the rapid transition to urban living in the 1960s, they confidently supported Bridgette in navigating both the Pākehā and Māori worlds. Guided by wāhine leaders like Rahera Shortland, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Arapera Blank, and Te Aroha Keenan, she thrived as a member of Ngā Tūmanako o Kahurangi at Auckland Girls Grammar before pursuing studies at Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato.
Initially intending to study te reo Māori and art history at Waikato, a first-year guest lecture by Moana Jackson inspired Bridgette to switch her focus to te reo Māori and psychology. Following her training as a Community Psychologist, she moved into private practice before returning to Waikato University as an academic.
During her graduate studies, Bridgette researched the inclusion of Māori content within the School of Psychology, leading to the establishment of the Māori and Psychology Research Unit (MPRU). Founded in 1997, the MPRU prioritises critical research that benefits Māori communities while fostering collaborative relationships among psychology staff and students. By bringing together skilled, interdisciplinary research groups, the MPRU produces high-quality research. In 2019, Bridgette took on the role of Director of the MPRU.
With over 20 years of practice and research experience, Bridgette is one of the most experienced Māori community psychologists in Aotearoa. She continues to educate aspiring students, conducts research with private and government agencies to contribute to Māori health, and maintains involvement in the psychology profession through her work with He Paiaka, the National Standing Committee of Bicultural Issues of the New Zealand Psychological Society, and the Accreditation Committee of the New Zealand Psychologists Board.
Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato – profile
Kudos Science Trust - Waikato DHB Medical Science Award
World-first Māori psychology learning coming to Waikato University
National Science Challenges – Bridgette Masters-Awatere
Programme Team Member Wins Science Award