Hōkai, ethics application management

Learn about the new ethics management system and application portal.

We currently use ResearchMaster system to support Candidature Management for Postgraduate Students and Ethics application management for Human and Animal Ethics. This system is approaching end of life and needs to be replaced before it is unsupported by the vendor.

OmniStar has been chosen to handle Ethics Management and work has been done to configure the system to meet University requirements. The new system will support existing ethics management processes and procedures, safeguarding the roles of both the Human Ethics Committee (HEC) and Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) in upholding ethical standards within the University.

User acceptance testing with key stakeholders is underway in preparation for launch on Thursday 6 June 2024.

To limit the disruption for our researchers, both systems will be accessible for a period. Key deadlines and dates are outlined below.

Naming our new Ethics Management system—Hōkai

The Office of the DVC Māori gifted our new Ethics Management system its name. A hōkai is a staying brace of a waka. Its purpose is to strengthen the structure of the waka, thereby ensuring its journey is successful. This name speaks metaphorically to the important role that the new ethics system will play in maintaining and strengthening the high standards of our research practices, and the need to balance our desire to push research boundaries while ensuring we remain accountable and responsible to our communities. This name connects with the University’s te reo Māori name, Te Herenga Waka, meaning the mooring place of canoes.

Training and support

Visit Hōkai training and support for a sneak peak of what to expect when Hōkai is launched.

Training resources for using Hōkai will be released in Nuku over the next few weeks, before Hōkai opens. While our application processes will not change, you will find some updates and improvements, such as easier access for external researchers. We will share alerts and details about training on this webpage and via email.


Hōkai has been created by leveraging the current ethics application form and has been designed to meet key University ethics requirements. This approach enabled us to swiftly develop the platform while reducing expenses, establishing a foundation for future improvements.

Project contact

The Research Office and Digital Solutions dedicated a project team to this transition, so the Human Ethics and Animal Ethics teams can continue to manage applications. If you have any questions about the transition to Hōkai, please contact the ResearchMaster Replacement project team by emailing ResearchMasterReplacementproject@vuw.ac.nz.

Learn more about research ethics at Victoria University of Wellington.