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Massey Magazine Issue 13 November 2002

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Prime Minister Helen Clark and Professor Sally Casswell
Prime Minister Helen Clark and Professor Sally Casswell

Another link in a network of excellence

The University came in for praise for innovation from the Prime Minister Helen Clark in her speech at the opening of the Auckland-based Centre for Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation on Friday 15 November.

The Prime Minister with Professor Sally Casswell and Professor Graeme Fraser.Ms Clark remarked on the University’s 75th celebrations and its tradition of innovation, including the Albany e-centre, which she also opened. The Prime Minister observed that Massey had achieved another first with the appointment of Professor Judith Kinnear as Vice-Chancellor.

Most of her comments, however, were reserved for the excellence of the SHORE Centre and the international achievements and reputation of its director Professor Casswell. “Massey already makes a considerable contribution to health and social research. The establishment of this centre complements that in an outstanding way.” She congratulated the University for attracting Professor Casswell’s team, most of whom were previously with the University of Auckland.

The Prime Minister stressed the value of research by such centres as SHORE, saying policy-making is frequently complicated by lobbying when facts are required. “The areas in which the SHORE Centre works are of particular importance now as we reassess the well-being of our young people. New Zealand has always been regarded as a great place to bring up children but we are becoming more aware now of the great stress on the young, particularly Maori and Pacific Island young people and new immigrants. There is much work to be done and I look forward to your contribution.”

The leader of Te Ropu Whariki Helen Moewaka Barnes.In his speech, Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Graeme Fraser also noted the breadth, experience and quality of the University’s work on health and social policy issues, now further strengthened by the SHORE Centre team. It was, he suggested, “a true network of excellence.” Leading Massey researchers in the area include Dr Chris Cunningham (Wellington), Professor Neil Pearce (Wellington) Professor Mason Durie and Professor Robyn Munford (Palmerston North), Professor Casswell, Professor Paul Spoonley, Dr Cindy Kiro and Associate Professor Marilyn Waring (Albany).

Professor Casswell drew attention to the importance of the team’s work for and with ethnic groups. A current project is a survey of Pacific drinking patterns using a telephone survey in four Pacific languages.

The SHORE Centre has a partnership with Maori research group Te Ropu Whariki, also established at the University this year, and led by Helen Moewaka Barnes. The two research teams have expertise in fields as diverse as alcohol and other drugs, Maori health research, the effects of location on health, Maori identity, youth mental health, and nutrition and body image.

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