Alana Haenga-O'Brien

Exploring Rangatahi Māori Understandings of Wairuatanga and Hauora

Alana Haenga-O'Brien profile-picture photograph

Alana Haenga-O'Brien

PhD Student
School of Psychology


Alana Haenga-O’Brien, hailing from the iwi of Ngāti Porou and Te Whānau ā Apanui, is a doctoral candidate within the School of Psychology. Alana grew up in Te Tairāwhiti, a region rich in Māori culture and resilience, which compelled her to embark on her doctoral studies to give back to her communities. She is highly passionate about Māori wellbeing and empowerment, and has since set her sights on exploring how rangatahi Māori understand and utilise knowledge of wairuatanga (Māori spirituality as defined by a traditional Māori worldview) for the support and maintenance of their hauora and oranga (health and wellbeing). As Alana recently completed her provisional year in the Clinical programme, Alana hopes her research will not only lend itself to the culturally responsive care of rangatahi Māori, but to also empower and support the health of Māori individuals and their whānau based on mātauranga Māori.


Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in Psychology (VUW)
Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology and Psychology (VUW)

Research Interests

Kaupapa Māori research and interventions, Māori health and wellbeing, intergenerational trauma, rangatahi and tamariki.

PhD Topic

Exploring Rangatahi Māori Understandings of Wairuatanga and Hauora


Professor of Psychology
School of Psychology

Senior Lecturer
Te Kawa a Māui

Lab Association

Youth Wellbeing Study -  Directed by Professor Marc Wilson