Dr Mary L Simpson

Mary Simpson

Associate Professor


Ageing; Communication; Experiential Learning; Health; Social Policy; Tertiary Education; Treaty of Waitangi

Ethics; Organisational Communication; Family carers of older relatives; Work in later life

Qualifications: PhD

Personal Website:

Contact Details

Email: [email protected]
Room: MSB.4.35a
Phone: +64 7 837 9278
Cellphone: +64 27 294 6586

Papers Taught

About Mary

My interest in the field of older people's wellbeing stems from a life-long commitment to, and experience working with and for, older people and their whānau. My experience with older people and their whānau, and the services that support them, extends across community, health, and voluntary sectors, and community-driven, kaumātua-focused research. Currently, I collaborate with Māori academic and community researchers to address health inequities, social justice, and policy issues that impact Māori kaumātua and potentially other Indigenous communities with histories of colonisation, as well as other older people in Aotearoa New Zealand.


Research Supervised

My teaching centres on digitally-enhanced, interpersonal, team, and organisational communication. I also teach research methods for business in the MBA programme, as well as supervise MBA High Impact Research projects.

Currently, I supervise doctoral research in tourist-immigration communication at the Thai border;  the impact of transnational relationships and travel between Chinese sojourners and their 'stay-behind' family and friends and wellbeing;  and the role of tuakana-teina/peer-education conversation for health and wellbeing of Māori kaumātua.

Research Interests

My goal as a researcher is to use my knowledge and experience developed in the field of ageing and wellbeing, to promote the health, independence and wellbeing of older people, and to address health inequities experienced by Māori kaumātua.

A selection of current and past grant-funded research I'm associated with:

Health Equity and Wellbeing Among Older People’s Caregivers During COVID-19 Funder: Health Research Council. 2021.

He kāinga Pai Rawa 2; Te Kete Mātauranga mō te Hanga Whare Tino Pai Rawa (A toolkit for building a really good home). Funder:  Building Better Homes, Towns, & Cities NSC. 2019-24.

Kaumātua mana motuhake Pōī: Enhancing Wellbeing, Social Connectedness and Cultural Identity. Funder: MBIE, Ageing Well NSC. 2019-23.

He Kāinga Pai Rawa 1: A Really Good Home - Best Practice Toolkit. (Kaumātua housing). Funder:  Building Better Homes Towns and Cities NSC. 2017– 2019. Think Piece 1 Think Piece 2 Think Piece 3 Toolkit for Kaumatua Housing

Kaumātua mana motuhake: Kaumātua managing life-transitions through tuakana-teina/peer-education. Funder:  Ageing Well, NSC. 2016-19.ātua_mana_motuhake

Maori health literacy and communication in palliative care: Kaumātua-led Models. Funder: Health Research Council-Ministry of Health Joint Venture. 2011-12. Rauawaawa Report

Recent Publications

  • Hokowhitu, B., Oetzel, J., Jackson, A. M., Simpson, M., Ruru, S., Cameron, M., . . . Warbrick, I. (2022). Mana motuhake, indigenous biopolitics and health. AlterNative, 18(1), 104-113. doi:10.1177/11771801221088448

  • McAllum, K., Simpson, M., Unson, C., Fox, S., & Kilpatrick, K. (2021). The socialization of unpaid family caregivers: A scoping review. Research on Aging, 43(7-8), 263-273. doi:10.1177/01640275211005092

  • Simpson, M. L., McAllum, K., & Fox, S. (2021). [Editorial] Seeing chronic inequities: A health communication call to action. Communication Research and Practice, 7(4), 307-310. doi:10.1080/22041451.2021.2004705

  • Harding, T., Oetzel, J., Simpson, M., & Nock, S. (2021). Identifying the facilitators and barriers in disseminating and adopting a health intervention developed by a community–academic partnership. Health Education and Behavior, online, 8 pages. doi:10.1177/10901981211033228

Find more research publications by Mary Simpson