Bev Lawton

Bev Lawton profile picture

Director Faculty of Health


BSc Well, MBChB Otago, DipObst Auck


Professor Bev Lawton (ONZM), nō Ngāti Porou, is the founder/director of Te Tātai Hauora o Hine (the Centre for Women’s Health Research) at Victoria University of Wellington (previously with the University of Otago). She was appointed an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit by the Queen for services to women’s health in 2005 and made a Distinguished Fellow of the Royal College of General Practice in 2017.

Bev previously worked as a general practitioner in Wellington for 17 years and co-founded the Wellington Menopause Clinic. These experiences led to an interest in research to answer the many questions relevant to women’s health and inequalities.

Bev is the Principal Investigator of He Tapu Te Whare Tangata. She is presently a member of the HPV Testing for Primary Screening Project Technical Reference Group (National Screening Group), Māori Health Committee – He Hono Wahine, and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Previous committee memberships include:

  • New Zealand Perinatal Maternal Mortality Review Committee
  • National Maternal Monitoring Group
  • the National Kaitiaki Group for the cervical screening programme
  • The Māori Equity Advisory group for the Implementation of HPV vaccination.

Research interests

  • Māori health and inequalities
  • Kaupapa Māori research in health
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Menopause
  • Clinical trials
  • Maternal and infant health

Bev's mahi seeks to reduce preventable harm and death for Māori and non-Māori women, their children and whānau (family). With a kaupapa Māori lens she focuses on clinical care pathways, systems and structural determinants of health to identify how these can better perform for women, babies and whānau.

Her research on women’s and children’s health has led to changes in policy and practice in NZ and internationally. This includes the establishment of the Severe Maternal Morbidity (SMM) monitoring program in Aotearoa New Zealand, improved systems for maternal health with regards to post-partum contraception, accident and emergency management of SMM and the establishment of SMM audit in Sri Lanka.

Current research projects

Whānau Manaaki programme

Funded by the NZ Health Research Council. This has three projects addressing maternal and child outcomes including:

He Korowai Manaaki

He Korowai Manaaki is a comprehensive wraparound approach to the pregnancy pathway. This pathway is based on the rationale that early, evidence-based care and more support from maternity through to childhood will lead to improved health and long-term wellbeing for wāhine (women) and tamariki (children), and potentially for their whole whānau.

Tamariki Kokoti Tau–Tackling Preterm quantitative study

This project looks in depth at the rates of preterm babies and clinical care pathway for babies born prematurely in New Zealand to see how we can improve care and the health status of these babies. This project provides the statistical analysis for the data collected and looks at the specific quantitative impact.

Tamariki Kokoti Tau–Tackling Preterm qualitative study

This Kaupapa Māori qualitative longitudinal study examines the experiences of whānau (families) as they journey along the preterm care pathway until one year after baby’s delivery. It examines the experiences, barriers and facilitators faced by whānau, and will inform us of structural and clinical issues that we can address to reduce the burden of disability and harm of preterm birth.

He Tapu Te Whare Tangata

Funded by the NZ Health Research Council. He Tapu Te Whare Tangata is a Kaupapa Māori randomised controlled community trial, aiming to increase cervical screening uptake in Te Tai Tokerau through the offer of HPV self-testing via clinic and outreach.

Recent publications

Adcock A, Cram F, Lawton B, Geller S, Hibma M, Sykes P, MacDonald J, Dallas-Katoa W, Rendell B, Cornell T, Mataki T, Rangiwhetu T, Gifkins N and Hart S. Acceptability of self-taken vaginal HPV sample for cervical screening amoung under-screened Indigenous population. Aust NZ Obstet Gynaecol. 2019;1-7.

Lepine S, Lawton B, Geller SE, Abels P, MacDonald EJ. Severe maternal morbidity due to sepsis: The burden and preventability of disease in New Zealand. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol 2018; 1–6

Geller, S. E., Koch, Garland, C., MacDonald, E. Storey, F, Lawton, B (2018). "A global view of severe maternal morbidity: moving beyond maternal mortality." Reproductive Health 15(1): 98.

Furniss M, Conroy M, Filoche S, MacDonald EJ, Geller SE, Lawton B. Information, support, and follow-up offered to women who experienced severe maternal morbidity. Int J Gynecology and Obstetrics 2018; 1–5

Filoche S, Cram F, Beard A, Sim D, Geller S, Edmonds L, Robson B, Lawton B. He Tamariki Kokoti Tau-Tackling Preterm: A data-linkage methodology to explore the clinical care pathway in preterm deliveries BMC Health Services Research 18(1) 21 May 2018

McCowan LM, Thompson JM, Cronin RS, Li M, Stacey T, Stone PR, Lawton B, Ekeroma AJ, Mitchell EA. (2017) Going to sleep in the supine position is a modifiable risk factor for late pregnancy stillbirth; Findings from the New Zealand multicentre stillbirth case-control study. PloS one13;12(6):e0179396.

Filoche SK, Cram F, Lawton B, Beard A, Stone P (2017) Implementing non-invasive prenatal testing into a publicly funded antenatal screening services for Down syndrome and other conditions. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 17(344):6 pages 04 Oct 2017

Filoche SK, Lawton B, Beard A, Stone P (2017) New screen on the block: Non-invasive prenatal testing for fetal chromosomal abnormalities. Journal of Primary Health Care 9(4):248-253 01 Dec 2017

Filoche SK, Lawton B, Beard A, Stone P (2017) Views of the obstetric profession on non-invasive prenatal testing in Aotearoa New Zealand: A national survey. ANZJOGi: 10.1111/ajo.12656. (Epub ahead of print)

Mitchell EA, Thompson JM, Zuccollo J, MacFarlane M, Taylor B, Elder D, Stewart AW, Percival T, Baker N, McDonald G, Lawton B. (2017) The combination of bed sharing and maternal smoking leads to a greatly increased risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy: the New Zealand SUDI Nationwide Case Control Study. NZMJ. 2017 Jun 2;130(1456):52.

Adcock, A., Lawton, B., & Cram, F. (2016). E Hine: Talking about Māori teen pregnancy with government groups. AlterNative. (In Press)

Sykes P, Innes C, Harker D, Whitehead M, van der Griend R, Lawton B, Hibma M, Fitzgerald P, Dudley N, Petrich S, Faherty J, Bergzoll C, Eva L, Parker C, Sadler L, Simcock B (2016) Observational Management of CIN 2 in Young Women: A Prospective Multicenter Trial. J Low Genit Tract Dis 20(4):343-7.

Lawton, B., Makowharemahihi, C., Cram, F., Robson, B., & Ngata, T. (2016). E Hine: Access to contraception for Indigenous Māori teenage mothers. Journal of Primary Health Care 8(1).

Filoche SK., Snook S, Lawton BA (2017). Exploring access to vasectomy services: A case study of funding in counties Manukau. Journal of Primary Health Care, 9(1), 85-89. doi: 10.1071/HC16033

Filoche SK, Stanley JS and Lawton BA (2016). Access to Secondary Mental Health Services in a Cohort of New Zealand Mothers. Community Ment Health. Published online 11 July 2016; DOI 10.1007/s10597-016-0042-2

MacDonald EJ, Geller SE, Lawton BA (2016). Establishment of a national severe maternal morbidity preventability review in New Zealand. IJGO Doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2016.03.034.

Stevenson K, Filoche SK, Cram F, Lawton BA. (2016) Lived Realities: Birthing experiences of Māori women under 20 years of age. AlterNative 12 (2) DOI: 10.20507 /AlterNative.2016.12.2.2

Lawton B, Stanley J, Filoche SK, Garrett S, Rose SB, Robson B and Elley C Raina (2016). Exploring the maternal infant continuum - ethnic disparities in infant hospital admissions for respiratory disease: a Kaupapa Māori retrospective cohort study. Aut NZ J Public Health 2016 Mar 30. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12505.

Lawton B, Filoche SK, Geller S, Garrett S, Stanley J (2016). Association of midwifery experience to perinatal mortality, a retrospective cohort study, Int J Gynaecol Obstet 2016 Jan;132(1):94-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2015.07.003. Epub 2015 Oct 20

Rose S, Stanley J, Lawton BA (2015). Time to second abortion or continued pregnancy following a first abortion: a retrospective cohort study. Human Reproduction Jan;30(1):214-21. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deu283

Lawton B, Filoche SK, Rose SB, Stanley J, Garrett S, Robson B, Brown S and Sykes P (2014) Uterine Cancer: exploring access to services in the public health system. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2014 Oct;54(5):457-61. doi: 10.1111/ajo.12237.

Makowharemahihi C, Lawton BA, Cram F, Ngata T, Brown S, Robson B (2014). Initiation of maternity care for young Māori women under 20 years of age. N Z Med J 127(1393):52-61.

Peer reviewed books, book chapters, books edited

Adcock A, Cram F, Lawton B. E Hine: Young Māori Women’s Journeys Through Pregnancy, Birth and Motherhood In Socio-Cultural Influences on Teenage Pregnancy and Contemporary Prevention Measures. Editors: Akella D. IGI Global Jul 2018 (Chapter)

Lawton B, and Meeta (2013). The role of calcium and vitamin D in the management of postmenopausal osteoporosis. In Meeta (Ed.) Postmenopausal osteoporosis: Basic and clinical concepts (pp. 171-185). New Delhi, India: Jaypee Brothers

Lawton BA. Menopause – A New Zealand Guide. Random House. 20064.