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Research projects

09 December 2023

Our research is organised in four themes. Learn more about our research projects.


Hei Puāwaitanga: Sustainability, Citizenship and Civic Imagination Research Group’s research is organised in four themes.

Theme One:

CYCLES Children and youth in cities and sustainability

This theme is lead by Professor Bronwyn Hayward (UC) and Dr Kate Prendergast, Research Manager (UC) with Dr Sylvia Nissen (Lincoln), Dawn Miller-McTaggart and six world city collaborators: Prof Tim Jackson (Director of our partner organisation CUSP, University of Surrey) with Dr Kate Burningham (Surrey) and Dr Sue Venn (Surrey);  Dr Ingrid Schudel (Rhodes, SA); Helio Mattar (Akatu, Brazil); Vimlendu Jha (Swechha, India); Dr Midori Aoyagi and Dr Aya Yoshida (National Institute for Environmental Studies Japan) and Dr Mehedi Hasan (Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh).

More information about our CYCLES project is available here.

Theme Two:

Civics Lab - democratic innovations for a fairer future

Theme Three:

Mana Rangatahi - how do we support Indigenous youth leadership in a changing climate?

This project is funded by the Deep South National Science Challenge and co-lead by Assc Prof Sacha McMeeking, Prof Steven Ratuva, Prof Bronwyn Hayward and Assc Prof Yvonne Crichton-Hill with researcher Dr MahMah Timeoteo.

Research partners: Tokona Te Raki  and Tagata Moana. With advisors: Professor Angus MacfarlaneAssociate Professor Sara Tolbert, Dr Bronwyn Wood (Victoria University ) and Prof Niki Harre (Auckland University). The project identifies indigenous strengths-based leadership approaches for youth aged 12-14 and whanau to lead in a changed climate. 

Find out more about Mana Rangatahi.

Theme Four: 

Advancing SDGs for wellbeing and future generations

Led by Dr Kate Prendergast with Professor Bronwyn Hayward, Dr Emily Beausoleil (Victoria University Wellington), Professor Angus MacfarlaneProfessor Steven RatuvaDr Yvonne Crichton Hill (Social Work), Dr Naimah Talib (Political Science), Dr Francis Yapp (Music), Associate Professor Natalie Baird (Law), Dr Matt Scobie (Business), Dr Mahdis Azarmandi (Education), Victoria Escaip (Spanish) and Susan Bouterey (Japanese), Associate Professor Sacha McMeeking, Dr Serena Kelly and Dr Helena Cook.


In 2019 our research group hosted the first of a series of ongoing public conversations to create community connections across difference the first about the sustainable development goal 6 water: Ko te wai te ora nga mea katoa: water is the life giver of all things, Six  youth leaders from Hei Puāwaitanga in conversation with world renown cellist Yo-Yo Ma about the value of water to wellbeing across our cultures. See "The Bach Project".

SDG 16

In 2020 we were funded by UNESCO to develop courageous community conversations to promote the SDG16 peace building in the wake of the 2019 attacks to build community understanding and we have worked in partnership funding PYLAT Pacific Youth leadership and Transformation with Josiah Tualamali'i to develop a forum for all young people in the region to discuss hate speech laws, and we supported and the Inspired Summit with the Muslim Students association and Bariz Shah to support conversations about leadership for peace across cultures. We also funded the July 2021 issue of Anti-racist Soup a zine with Dr Mahdis Azarmandi.

SDG 3, 11 & 13

What does good health and wellbeing mean across generations, diverse communities and cultures? A research project and city conversations led by Dr Kate Prendergast with Victoria Escaip, Dr Susan Bouterey, Ana Terra Amorim-Maia, Bronwyn Hayward, Dr Mehedi Hasan and Dr Lindsey McDonald. See "Free Public Transport is a Great Start".

SDG 10 & 16

SDG 10 and 16 Accountable and inclusive institutions that generate wellbeing for all.  Led by Associate Professor Sacha McMeeking this theme asks: how could a Mātauranga Māori approach to wellbeing transform our public administration system, enhancing our ability to identify and target investment in upstream solutions that benefit all New Zealanders, while also valuing the distinctive contribution the Iwi Māori sector makes to our national quality of life. See: Implementing He Ara Waiora

SDG 17

How can the EU implement and revitalize global partnerships for sustainable development? This theme examines partnerships between the EU and Pacific to promote sustainability. Led by Dr Serena Kelly with Professor Bruce Wilson (RMIT), Dr Matthew Doidge UC and Dr Helena Cook UC. Advisors: Distinguished Professor Steven Ratuva and Associate Professor Yvonne Crichton-Hill. See: EU-Pacific Engagement Post-Covid for SDGs

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