Dr Esther Willing

Ngāti Toarangatira, Ngāti Koata, Ngā Ruahine

Dr Esther Willing is an academic and Māori health researcher focusing on how health policy and the health system can improve Māori health outcomes in Aotearoa.

Currently, she serves as a Senior Lecturer in Hauora Māori and the Director of the Kōhatu Centre for Hauora Māori in the Division of Health Sciences at Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo, the University of Otago. Alongside her roles in the university, she researches how Māori health is framed within Aotearoa and how this framing impacts Māori health outcomes.

Through her mahi and research, she values reframing the idea that health inequities are difficult to fix. She believes that free access to GPs and dentists will save money for whānau using these services and save money for the health system by providing preventative care. The fees for GPs or dentists are major barriers for many people who need to access health services, and this barrier has a bigger impact on Māori, Pasifika, and those struggling with the high cost of living.

Her research on improving immunisation coverage for hapu māmā and tamariki focuses on identifying and address immunisation inequities for Māori and improving access to immunisation services to protect pēpi and tamariki from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Additionally, she works to start conversations around what an indigenous health measure might look like. She believes that an indigenous well-being measure would need to consider what is best for the individual, wider whānau, hapū, and iwi, and the environment they are connected to.


University of Otago - Dr Esther Willing

Time has come for free access to GPs and dentists

Esther Willing – Research

Dr Esther Willing | Director, Kōhatu Centre for Hauora Māori, Otago Medical School

Indigenous voices on measuring and valuing health states

Maternal vaccination coverage in Aotearoa New Zealand

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