Our History

Through the ongoing generosity of our supporters, since our inception in 1961, the Health Research Foundation - Hawke’s Bay has invested $3 million in research.

The movement started when local branch members of the British Medical Association decided to call interested parties together to discuss the importance of medical research in New Zealand and whether it was feasible to carry out worthwhile research in Hawke’s Bay. 

At the time, it was noted that doctors in the region, who had undertaken specialist training overseas had found, on returning home, a partial vacuum because of the lack of local research facilities. 

The group agreed to find a way to make these facilities available in Hawke’s Bay and called for a public meeting. Over 100 people attended the meeting, and the Hawke’s Bay Medical Research Foundation was established, just four months later on March 16 1961. 

On launching the funding appeal one of the founding members, Dr Sam Turner, called for public support:


"To help keep the country’s best medical brains from going overseas to take up research, and that the investment in research would repay the country many times over, through promoting health and preventing disease, or stopping it in its early stages." 

The objective of the Foundation remains the same today:


"To promote, initiate and support research in all health related fields including medical and health education, knowledge and understanding." 

Our Future

Formerly known as Hawke’s Bay Medical Research Foundation, in 2023 the Foundation entered a new era – including a new name and brand. This is a precursor of further growth and development of the Foundation, with the sole purpose of optimising the impact of health research we fund. It is an exciting time!

We intend to continue to fund medical, physical and mental health research, and our new name better reflects this goal. Our strategic assessments fund a healthy mix of local projects as well as nationwide initiatives. As such, we seek collaborations with health partners, the commercial sector and universities across New Zealand (and abroad). We are all connected, and the Health Research Foundation intends to empower the rich knowledge researchers across the country can offer our communities.

With our sharpened identity, and an ever-growing ambition to make a difference, the Foundation is well positioned to link the most talented researchers to the most pressing health issues.

Our Board