Future-proofing clinical cancer research in New Zealand at a time of major systems change

This year is a critical time for determining the future of clinical and translational cancer research in Aotearoa NZ. This includes both challenges and opportunities arising from major revisions to our healthcare system: the expectation that research becomes a core activity of Health NZ and the Māori Health Authority, the HRC/MOH project ‘Enhancing New Zealand’s Clinical Trials’, the broadening role of Te Aho o te Kahu, and the recognition of the need for improved National data governance which embeds Māori data sovereignty. To make the most of these changes, Cancer Trials NZ is holding a special meeting to bring together people interested in clinical and translational cancer research to discuss the role of cancer trials and cancer clinical research in Aotearoa NZ.  How could these best operate in the new healthcare environment, and what infrastructure is needed to serve our needs for the next 20 years?

Date: Thursday 22 September 2022

Time: 10am – 12pm  [coffee/tea from 9.30am]

Location: Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre.


For full programme please click here

10.00  Opening karakia and Welcome  
10.00 – 10.15  Setting the scene  Cancer Trials NZ
10.15 – 10.30  Supporting improved access to cancer clinical trials  Nisha Nair, Te Aho o Te Kahu
10.30 – 10.45  Key research priorities for Hei Āhuru Mōwai and Cancer Trials Aotearoa  Myra Ruka, Hei Āhuru Mōwai
10.45 – 11.00  The challenges of precision oncology data  Cris Print, University of Auckland
11.00 – 11.20  The role of health research in the New Zealand Health System  Ian Town, Ministry of Health
11-20 – 11.55  Panel – questions and discussions  
12.00  Closing karakia  



Dr Ian Town

Ian is the Chief Science Advisor at the Ministry of Health and leads the Ministry’s work to implement the New Zealand Health Research Strategy 2017-2027.  Ian  has worked across both the health and education sectors during his 30-year career. and is a physician by training.  He will talk to us about ‘The Role of Health Research in the New Zealand Health System.’

Professor Cris Print

Cris is a Professor at the University of Auckland.  He is Co-lead researcher for the National Science Challenge circulating tumour DNA program, the NETwork! program and the Rakeiora national genomics infrastructure program. In common among all three programs is the challenge of using and storing large-scale cancer genomic information linked to clinical information in a way that reaches toward health equity, can be co-governed with Māori and respects Māori data sovereignty.  Cris will talk about this challenge and national efforts underway to meet it in his presentation ‘The challenges of precision oncology data’.

Dr Nisha Nair

Nisha is a public health medicine specialist at Te Aho o Te Kahu, Cancer Control Agency. Nisha was a researcher at the University of Otago Wellington before joining the Ministry of Health in 2017, where she worked in the Cancer Services team and the National Screening Unit, before joining Te Aho o Te Kahu over two years ago. Nisha’s presentation is ‘Supporting improved access to cancer clinical trials’.

Dr Myra Ruka (Raukawa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kuri) 

Myra trained as a specialist in Haematology at Waikato Hospital laboratory and Haematology department. Her Clinical Equity Lead role at Waikato Hospital has included governance over local and regional planning and identifying opportunities for equity gain in all aspects of health service design. “Equity gain can be designed into any system – regardless of the scale or health service”. She understands that the integration of Matauranga Māori into healthcare is critical to achieving holistic culturally safe cancer care. Her PhD is looking at an Equity led Quality Improvement Framework for cancer care and the design and implementation of Kaupapa Māori Models of Cancer care.  Myra’s presentation at this year’s CTNZ hui will cover the key clinical research priorities for Hei Āhuru Mōwai.