Our research

Research in the Migrant and Refugee Research Centre focuses on advancing knowledge and practice to enhance the health and wellbeing of migrant and refugee populations. Our research is interdisciplinary, involving experts from a range of fields.

Current research projects

Exploring immunisation inequities among refugee children in New Zealand (2018-2022)

This study proposes to collect quantitative and qualitative data regarding factors that influence the access and uptake of immunisations and strategies that would help improve age-appropriate vaccinations among refugee children post-resettlement. The outcomes of this study will help us better understand the root causes of under-immunisation and how we can improve immunisation rates to protect vulnerable refugee children and the wider society.

Funded by:

Health Research Council of New Zealand (Emerging Researcher First Grant)


Dr Nadia Charania, Dr Janine Paynter, and Associate Professor Nikki Turner

Ethnic differences in the uptake of healthcare services: A microanalysis (2019-2022)

This mixed-methods research aims to understand factors influencing ethnic disparities in the update of health services for children, focusing on GP visits, immunisations and dental. The aim is to understand the complex interaction of factors at play and propose recommendations for policy and practice improvement to reduce health inequities.

Funded by:

Health Research Council of New Zealand (Project Grant)


Professor Gail Pacheco, Dr Nadia Charania, Dr Alexander Plum, Dr Sonia Lewycka, Associate Professor El-Shadan (Dan) Tautolo, Dr Terryann Clark, Dr Mary Hedges

Engaging South Asians and Chinese migrants in disaster risk reduction in New Zealand (2018-2021)

This qualitative descriptive study aims to understand the vulnerabilities and capacities of Indian and Chinese migrants in the face of disasters and propose strategies for migrant-inclusive disaster risk-reduction.

Funded by:

Earthquake Commission


Dr Nadia Charania, Dr Loic Le De, Ms Vineeta Rao

Living in bubbles during the coronavirus pandemic: insights from New Zealand (2020 ongoing)

The concept of ‘the bubble’ proved effective at conveying the necessity of exclusive containment, while foregrounding the importance of mutual care and support that might stretch beyond a single household or home. Mixed method study with London School of Economics, Uni Ack, Vic Uni and AUT- one major theme on migrants Indonesia and Indian communities

Funded by:

London School of Economics


Nicholas J. Long, Pounamu Jade Aikman, Nayantara Sheoran Appleton,  Sharyn Graham Davies,  Antje Deckert, Eleanor Holroyd, Naseem Jivraj, Megan Laws, Nikita Simpson, Rogena Sterling, Susanna Trnka, and Laumua Tunufa'i

Chagga tribal wives in East Africa (2018-2021)

Spousal separation for husbands' job location and risk of HIV- in depth interviews with 60 wives on the plantation with Aga Khan University, Tanzania.

Funded by:

Aga Khan University


P. Msouka and Eleanor Holroyd

Past projects

These scoping reviews explored rates of vaccine-preventable disease (VPD) burden and immunisations among migrant and non-migrant populations, and currently recommended interventions to reduce the VPD burden faced by migrants worldwide.

Funded by:

AUT Summer Studentship award


Dr Nadia Charania, Nina Gaze, Janice Kung & Stephanie Books

Utilising New Zealand’s capacity to link anonymised health and immigration data (the Integrated Data Infrastructure), the Red Knot study determined the immunisation status and vaccine-preventable disease burden among children with migration and refugee backgrounds.

Funded by:

Ministry of Innovation and Employment


Dr Nadia Charania, Dr Janine Paynter, Dr Arier Lee, Ms Donne Watson, and Associate Professor Nikki Turner

This integrative literature review was conducted drawing on peer-reviewed research articles on immigrant health in NZ published between 2012 and 2018. A search yielded more than 130 articles with 28 articles constituting the foundation of the review. This review is timely following the rapid increase in the scale, speed, and spread of immigration and its potential for changing NZ’s national health patterns and priorities. migration in NZ is a gendered phenomenon, as there has been more women and girls arriving as migrants in NZ and being at risk of poor health in comparison with their male counterparts. Secondly, studies on infectious diseases take precedence over other health problems. Thirdly, research methodologies used to collect data may not be relevant to the cultural and traditional customs of the migrant populations. Furthermore, a number of research findings implemented have failed to meet the needs of NZ migrants. Lastly, policy initiatives are inclined more towards supporting health practitioners and lack a migrant centred approach.

Funded by:

African refugees and asylum seekers


Blessing Kanengoni Nyatara, Dr Sari Andajani and Professor Eleanor Holroyd

A cross-sectional survey was carried out with 374 African ASRs living in HK. The survey comprised of: (a) socio-demographics; (b) health status; (c) health behaviours; and, (d) social experiences. Associations between social determinants of health and depression screen were explored and multivariable regression analysis was conducted. A significant proportion of African ASRs in Hong Kong exhibits depressive symptoms. A complex interaction combining both social and perceptions of health and discrimination in the host society is likely exacerbated by their ASR status. The use of community support groups or even re-examination of the family reunification laws could improve the mental health and wellbeing of African ASRs in Hong Kong.

Funded by:

HK Health Care and Promtion Fund


William Wong, Sui Cheung, Ho Huen Miu, Jackie Chen, Karen Loper, Eleanor Holroyd

Postgraduate students

Our postgraduate students work on projects that further advance our centre's research.

Our student projects

Research outputs

Our researchers regularly publish articles in internationally-renowned journals and publications.

Our publications