Dr Penny Haora

Research Fellow

UQ Poche Centre for Indigenous Health
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences


Dr Penny Haora (Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāti Māhanga) is a Research Fellow in the UQ Poche Centre for Indigenous Health.

Penny researches innovations and system transformation for better maternity care with a focus on First Nations families. She uses qualitative, mixed methods, community-based participatory, and realist approaches. As a First Nations Maori researcher, Penny is learning Kaupapa Maori and Indigenist research approaches and works to see the revaluing of Indigenous knowledges and science. The overall aim of her research is to support healthy families through better births. She does this by conducting and facilitating research that places the lived experiences of mums and bubs, families and community front and centre.

Penny aims for her work to incentivise action to address entrenched inequities in maternity care, such as care quality/safety (including cultural safety) and access. She has worked in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community organisations, internationally with remote communities and in post-conflict settings with local and international non-government organisations, and within diverse organisational contexts.

Penny is leading projects with a view to better understanding and evaluating First Nations-led maternity and family care and wellbeing. From 2019 to 2022, she managed the Building on Our Strengths (BOOSt) project based on the beautiful Lands of the Yuin Nation (NSW) embedded with Waminda South Coast Aboriginal Women’s Health and Wellbeing Organisation. Penny completed a Doctor of Philosophy in 2013 enrolled at the ANU working on a project based in Thailand. Her Master of Public Health research was undertaken in Rasuwa District, Nepal, and she has around six years of experience working in research/evaluation/management and clinical roles in Thailand, Nepal, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Papua New Guinea.

Penny is available to supervise PhD students, Honours and Master of Public Health projects.

Research Interests

  • Inter-Indigenous, Kaupapa Māori & Indigenist research approaches
    Specifically First Nations narrative (story) approaches; decolonising, antiracist, trauma/healing-informed research praxis. Indigenous Cultural & Intellectual property (ICIP)
  • Decolonisation of maternity care & academia
    Strengths-focused First Nations-led maternity/family/child/reproductive health care (and various components of e.g. Indigenous Family Support Practitioners, Deadly Dads etc). First Nations midwifery workforce and decolonising midwifery (education, practice, research, regulation, association) and maternity care. Countering racism and discrimination in maternity care with Connectedness.
  • Realist approaches
    Realist Evaluation and Realist Synthesis
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Implementation Science and Knowledge Translation (KT) in maternity care/First Nations maternity care

Research Impacts

My research has impact at many levels including influencing policy, health services decision making, maternity care improvements, better outcomes and experiences of care to support the health and wellbeing of women and families.


  • Member, Australian College of Midwifery Incorporated, Australian College of Midwifery Incorporated
  • Doctor of Philosophy of Public Health and Health Services, Australian National University
  • Masters (Coursework) of Public Health and Health Services, University of New South Wales
  • Graduate Diploma in Midwifery, University of Western Sydney


View all Publications

Available Projects

  • Projects associated with research/evaluation of this maternity care program designed and run by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health

View all Available Projects


Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Projects associated with research/evaluation of this maternity care program designed and run by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health