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2023 Te Rangi Hiroa Medal: Working for greater health equity for Māori

Associate Professor Clive Aspin (Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Whanaunga, Ngāti Tamaterā) has been awarded the Te Rangi Hiroa Medal for his research on sexuality, HIV, and suicide prevention. His work has led to greater equity for Māori and indigenous peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Clive has been a pioneer in public health research and Māori health research and has made significant contributions both nationally and internationally to social and cultural diversity, particularly in the critical domains of HIV and AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, and suicide intervention. 

His work has influenced policy development and facilitated systematic transformation that has benefited many underrepresented communities, especially Māori. 

His leadership of the tripartite research collaboration into the impact of HIV on indigenous peoples in Aotearoa, Australia, and Canada has positively impacted the development of HIV-related policy in all three nations.

Clive led research programmes at the Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga Centre of Research Excellence, where he made a significant contribution to building the research capacity and infrastructure that underpins Māori research across Aotearoa New Zealand. 

He has extensive experience teaching in both the secondary and tertiary education systems. Through a series of roles in the public sector he was actively involved in provision of community-based healthcare, and ensuring that Māori were considered in development of government policy, before transitioning to academia.

One of the supporters of this nomination says that Clive has had an “undeniable impact” on improving cultural diversity and social cohesion in his areas of public health and indigenous research.

“His contributions demonstrate his dedication to increasing cultural understanding of Māori health in the sphere of HIV and AIDS.”

A second supporter adds that Clive has fought for better societal understanding of HIV and AIDS, of sexual and reproductive health, of Māori sexuality, and of suicide prevention. 

“He is unique in having worked effectively across academic, community, and government roles to effect change and improvement in the lives of marginalised people. He has been personally fearless in his advocacy for those without a strong voice in the system. His work has benefited many marginalised groups and Māori in particular.” 

They say Clive’s “fearless calling out of racism and homophobia in all its forms” is well known and he has “literally put his body on the line” in his efforts to break down the many barriers to equity.

Clive’s academic success has been matched by his willingness to take on non-academic roles where he can influence policy development and achieve fundamental organisational change. These include national and international governance roles in HIV and AIDS, membership of the governing board of the Health Research Council of New Zealand, management of a large drug-harm reduction service in Central Sydney, and work within government as a policy analyst and a specialist advisor on suicide.

He has been teaching since 2015 and is currently Associate Professor of Health at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington's School of Health – a role he stepped into in 2022.

Te Rangi Hiroa Medal:
The Te Rangi Hiroa Medal is awarded for outstanding contributions in the social sciences.

To Clive Aspin (Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Whanaunga, Ngāti Tamaterā) for national and international contributions to social and cultural diversity, particularly in regard to the impact of HIV on Māori and other indigenous peoples.