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Apply to the Human Research Ethics Committee

15 December 2023

You need ethics approval from the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) for any research or teaching activity in which people are subjected to experimental procedures, observation, or questioning. Find out how to apply to the Human Research Ethics Committee for approval.


The general procedure for all applications to the HREC (excepting that at the review stage, low-risk applications are seen by a maximum of two committee members):


  • Application forms are downloaded and filled in by the applicant.
  • Student applications are reviewed, edited and signed by supervisors.
  • Applications are submitted to the Ethics secretary. For the review process to start, the secretary must receive one e-copy of that fully signed application (



  • Applications are circulated to HREC members for their review and comment.
  • HREC responses to applicants will be via email within three weeks (low risk two weeks) where the application has all required documentation and signatures.
  • HREC member responses are collated by the chair and the secretary and a response is sent to the applicant by email (it is very unusual that applications do not need some adjustments in response to HREC queries so applicants should expect some questions from the HREC).
  • Applicant reviews response from HREC and replies via email.
  • Committee reviews applicant’s response and either approves the applicant or asks further questions.



  • Final approval is by email and electronic approval letter from the secretary.

The committee meets several times a year to discuss general ethical issues and applications where necessary.

Please note that, in very special circumstances, expedited review is possible. Please contact the chair in the first instance.


Application Form, Templates, and Māori Consultation Process

In 2021 the Human Research Ethics Committee revised its application form and processes.

We hope you find the new forms easier to fill out than the old forms.

Please email the chair if you have suggestions as to how to improve their legibility or flow.



If your research is likely to involve Māori participants or have an impact on tangata whenua including kaupapa Māori, taonga artifacts and species, or access to Māori land, you will need to complete the Māori Consultation process and obtain an acceptance letter in support of your research. Please start with contacting a Faculty/School Kaiārahi Māori | Māori advisor. Kaiārahi will be able to help assess whether to seek further co-design and engagement, and whether to contact the Ngāi Tahu Consultation and Engagement Group (NTCEG) for additional guidance. Once it has been determined that you need to complete this process, fill in this form here and send to for processing.


Note: If you are undertaking a student research project for a course worth less than 90 points (e.g., ENVR480) your form will be registered only. Registration of a research project will not include receiving feedback on the project from the NTCEG and you will not receive an approval letter. Any courses worth 90+ points will need to undergo the full consultation process.


Contact details for Kaiārahi and other important information and advice regarding engaging and co-designing research with Māori are available at


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