UCL Anthropology


Jarrard O’Brien

Jarrard O’Brien

UCL Email: jarrard.o'brien.09@ucl.ac.uk
Websites: http://i3.waitematadhb.govt.nz/
Year of start: 2012
Supervisors: Sahra Gibbon and Joseph Calabrese
Subject: Medical Anthropology
Fieldsite: Auckland, New Zealand

PhD Research

Intergenerational Impacts: How colonisation impacts experience of healthcare

The indigenous Māori in Aotearoa (New Zealand) have persistently poorer health outcomes than other populations in Aotearoa. Indigenous epistemologies and worldviews are commonly based on an intrinsic link to the land and natural environment. The confiscation of land and resources affects not only the immediate physical health of indigenous populations, but necessarily compromises mental and spiritual wellbeing through sustained cultural and social dislocation. There is an identified link between the loss of cultural identity and historical trauma to poorer health outcomes.

Legislation and Government strategies recognise The Treaty of Waitangi (signed in 1840 by the Crown and a group of Māori leaders), however, in a search of national health strategies produced in the last two decades, there is a distinct silence around colonisation and its direct impacts. Furthermore, the healthcare system that supports Māori recovery and resilience is a construct of the dominant colonising culture. Māori epistemologies, such as collectivism and the centrality of whānau (family) have not historically been taken into account. This research seeks to understand the ongoing impacts of colonisation for indigenous Māori in Aotearoa, in relation to their engagement with secondary health care.

Research interests

  • Colonisation
  • Indigenous views of health in relation to Western biomedicine
  • Intergenerational trauma and epigenetics
  • Public health policy and strategy
  • Community engagement and development
  • Human-centred design


Sokratov and J. M. O’Brien. 2014. Hīkaka te Manawa: Making a difference for rangatahi. Wellington: Health and Disability Commissioner and Te Rau Matatini

Presentations & Conferences

  • 2019, MaritzCX User Forum (APAC)
  • 2018, MaritzCX User Conference (NZ)
  • 2018, ANZGOSA_ANZHPBA Conjoint 2018 Meeting
  • 2017, HiNZ
  • 2016, 24th International Conference on Health Promoting Hospitals
  • 2015, The Brilliant Conference
  • 2015, NZIMLS South Pacific Congress
  • 2013, IIMHL International Knowledge Exchange
  • 2013, Kaimahi (Māori Workforce) Symposium
  • 2013, Midland Regional Mental Health Network
  • 2013, Southland Mental Health and Addictions Network

Education History

  • 2012-present, PhD candidate, Anthropology, University College London
  • 2013, COP, Public Health (Hauora Maori), University of Otago
  • 2013, Certificate in Te Reo Maori, Te Wananga o Aotearoa
  • 2012, BSc (Hons 1st Class), Anthropology, University College London
  • 2009, Dip. Health Studies, The Open University

Honours, Awards & Funding

  • 2016 HRINZ National Award for Talent Development and Management
  • 2015 IPANZ National Public Sector Award for Integrity and Trust
  • 2012 Dean’s List for Outstanding Academic Achievement, University College London
  • 2010 R. E. Bradbury Memorial Prize – Best 1st year anthropology student
  • 2010 Patient Experience Network national award for electronic patient survey programme

Additional Information

  • 2017-present, Member of Health Informatics New Zealand (HiNZ)
  • 2017-present, Member of Association of Social Anthropologists of Aotearoa New Zealand (ASAANZ)