Good Homes for Good Lives.

The Team

The research is being undertaken by a collaborative, multi-disciplinary, cross-organisational team lead by CRESA.

Research team members

Kay Saville-Smith — Programme Leader

 Kay Saville-Smith.

Kay Saville-Smith is a sociologist and director at CRESA, specialising in applied social research and evaluation in housing, public policy and community development.  With a policy and managerial background in housing and health, she has extensive experience in quantitative and qualitative research design, evaluation, and policy analysis. Her research includes: benefit and funding policy for health, welfare, housing, disability and social services; mental health services; and housing. She was a member of research teams for: the Healthy Housing Programme (Otago University) and HEEP (BRANZ). She leads the Sustainable Neighbourhoods Stream for the BEACON Consortium. She led the evaluation of HNZC’s Rural Housing Programme, and she leads two public good science funded programmes - Ageing in Place: repairs and maintenance of older people’s housing and Building Attachment in Families and Communities Affected by Transience and Residential Mobility. Kay is a council member for the Lifetime Design Foundation Council and was a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Warm Homes.

Bev James

 Bev James.

Bev James is the principal of Public Policy & Research. She has wide-ranging experience in policy analysis and management, social research and evaluation. Dr James gained her DPhil from the University of Waikato. Prior to undertaking contracting work 10 years ago, Bev was Branch Manager, Social Policy in the Ministry of Maori Development. She has also worked for the Department of Conservation and Wellington Regional Council, and was a senior lecturer at Massey University. Recent research and publications include: “What happens to research? Responses to a project on the residential movement of children and young people” Social Policy Journal of New Zealand 33 (March 2008); (with R. Fraser) Te Hiringa i te Mahara 2008 National Survey of Maori Secondary Teachers. Report prepared for Gardiner Parata (2008); (with K. Saville-Smith, J. Warren and R. Fraser) Access to safe and secure housing for at risk and vulnerable young people, CHRANZ, Wellington (in press); Children’s and Young People’s Housing Experiences: Issues and Scoping Paper, CHRANZ (2007); (with K Saville-Smith, M Scotts, and R Fraser) Local Government and Affordable Housing, CHRANZ (2007); (with K. Saville-Smith, R. Fraser, B. Ryan and S. Travaglia) Housing and Disability: Future Proofing New Zealand’s Housing Stock for an Inclusive Society, CHRANZ (2007).

Dr Elsie Ho

 Dr Elsie Ho.

Dr Elsie Ho is an associate professor and director of Population Mental Health in the Section of Social and Community Health, School of Population Health at the University of Auckland. She has previously held teaching appointments at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the University of Waikato. Dr Ho is a leading expert in migration studies in New Zealand, and has been researching the cross-cultural transition and adaptation of Asian immigrants and international students for over a decade. She has published widely on the topics of Asian transnational communities, acculturation, migrant settlement, identity development and mental health, as well as diversity issues in the workplace and in the classrooms.  In 2007, Dr Ho was awarded Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to migrant communities. Currently she is one of two Objective Leaders (with Professor Richard Bedford) of the FRST-funded Strangers in Town research programme (2002-08). She is also one of two Principal Investigators (with Professor Jacques Poot) of the Marsden-funded Settlement and Circulation of New Zealanders Living in Australia programme (2005-2007).

Ruth Fraser

 Ruth Fraser.

Ruth Fraser is of Ngai Tahu descent and has trained in social policy and law.  She has an LLB (Hons). She has been employed as a researcher at CRESA since October 1995.  Ruth’s main interests are in the areas of the rental market, resource management, household energy use, and community development. She has extensive experience in face-to-face interviews and focus groups with a range of people and in data management and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative information.  Recent research includes database design, quality control and analysis of social science data from the now complete Household End-use Energy Project (HEEP) undertaken with BRANZ.  She was research officer for the evaluation of the Rural Housing Programme undertaken for Housing New Zealand Corporation, the NMT Affordable Housing Study led by MOTU, research on landlord practices for the Department of Building and Housing, and research on access to safe and secure housing for at risk and vulnerable young people.

Wendy Li

 Wendy Li.

Wendy Li is a PhD candidate at the Population Studies Centre, the University of Waikato. She is a recipient of the Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship awarded by the Tertiary Education Committee. Wendy was a researcher and senior lecturer in China before she moved to New Zealand in 2003. She worked as a counsellor providing counselling to Asian population affected by problem gambling from 2004 to 2007. Wendy has written and co-authored a number of publications on psychology and women studies. Wendy has extensive involvement in organisations and agencies concerned for the welfare of immigrants. She is the Chairperson of Hamilton Chinese Golden Age Society.

Roman Jaques

 Roman Jaques.

Roman Jaques is a senior environmental building scientist with BRANZ, New Zealand’s only independent research, testing, consulting and educational company providing resources for the building industry.

Lynda Amitrano

 Lynda Amitrano.

BBSc (Hons), Manager Sustainable Built Environment, BRANZ Ltd

Lynda manages the Sustainable Built Environment team at BRANZ, her team focuses on delivering research to the building and constructing industry to develop more sustainable, efficient and effective buildings and practices within that industry. A key focus of her leadership role is to ensure the research and information produced will enable improvement to the environmental aspects of both new and existing buildings.

Lynda's career started as a scientist, having completed an honours degree in building science, and she has over 15 years experience in this area. The areas of research she has worked in include energy efficiency in buildings, delivering sustainable buildings and creating resilient built environments with a focus on climate change.

Robin Kearns

 Robin Kearns.

BA, MA (Hons) PhD

Robin Kearns, BA, MA (Hons) PhD is Professor of Geography at The University of Auckland. He has published two books and numerous articles addressing aspects of the links between culture, place and health. Robin is a ministerial appointment on the Public Health Advisory Committee and the National Health Committee. He is an editor of two journals: Health & Place, and Health& Social Care in the Community.

Tara Coleman

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Tara Coleman is a PhD candidate at the University of Auckland. Her PhD thesis explores the role of home and neighbourhood in shaping experiences of ageing-in-place on Waiheke Island using qualitative interviewing, photo-elicitation and ‘street phenomenology’. Tara completed a MA in human geography in 2007 that considered school, home, and Teen Parent Units as sites for sexuality education. She teaches in Social Science for Public Health, and in Human Geography. Tara’s research interests also encompass the geographies of neoliberalism and the state, interconnections between place and women’s health, and public policy analysis.

Denise Bijoux

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Denise Bijoux is a Doctoral candidate in human geography at the University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. She also works as a social researcher and policy advisor in the fields of health, community development, planning and sustainability with a wide range of groups, including migrants, older people, youth and people living with disability, at the local, regional and national scales. Some of the reports recently written and co-written by Denise are available on the Alcohol Advisory Council for Aotearoa/New Zealand website ( and Beacon Pathway Limited (

Lorraine Leonard

 Lorraine Leonard.

BA (Hons), MA (Soci)

Lorraine Leonard, BA (Hons), MA (Soci) works for CRESA in the area of housing research. Her MA "Retirement Villages: Promises of a Lifestyle" was completed at the University of Canterbury in 2002. Since then she has worked in housing research in various institutions and has been the co-ordinator of the Social Science Research Centre at Canterbury. More recently Lorraine worked with PUCM (Planning Under Co-operative Mandates) at Waikato University evaluating the Community Outcomes Processes for the LTCCP's. She is an active member of The NZ Assn of Gerontology (NZAG) and Sustainable Otautahi Christchurch (SOC).