Improving awareness and access to medical research funding – Tolotea Lanumata

Pacific researcher Tolotea Lanumata will present at a webinar tomorrow to encourage and guide Pacific medical students on their future career paths.

But Lanumata’s talk will not be covering any medical practices. Instead, she will be encouraging and informing our future medical professionals about the career options with research and how to apply for funding for their prospective work.

Lanumata is the Manager of Pacific Research Investment at the Health Research Council of New Zealand, an organisation that identifies and funds research that leads to new medicines, breakthroughs, cures and improves the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders. She says there are a whole raft of funding opportunities and scholarships to help with Masters, PhD studies and research ventures.

“The resources are there if anyone is thinking about important research work to improve their practices. If we look at Covid-19 for instance, medical research is important because we learn about ways to improve our medical practices during future pandemics”.

Lanumata  will be one of the guest speakers at the Pasifika Health Power Webinar, presented by the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) and supported by the University of Otago and University of Auckland.  Other guest speakers include breast surgeon Dr Ineke Meredith, MBChB FRACS, and Dr Bruce Su’a, MBChB.

In fact, in 2016 Dr Su’a received the inaugural Pacific clinical research training fellowship from the Health Research Council. He received a grant of $166,667 for his study to deal with complications surrounding bowel and colon surgery.

Lanumata says her job is important because some of the research that her organisation funds has direct benefits to the health and wellbeing of the Pacific community.

“We support clinicians like Dr Api Talemaitoga, who are a big part of research teams. One of my main goals is to help Pacific students access funding and to help develop their careers.

I love helping and being of service. It’s rewarding to see the success of our Pacific students who continue to contribute to our communities.”

The Pasifika Health Power Webinar Series starts tomorrow, Wednesday 14 April from 5pm – 6pm and the guest speakers will present from the various locations with zoom facilities allowing many others to tune in from around the country and overseas.

To register, please visit


Date: Tuesday 13 April 2021