The LiLACS NZ research programme

New Zealanders of advanced age make up one of the fastest growing groups in our population. Doing research into ageing and health helps us understand how best to support older New Zealanders.

To learn more about older New Zealanders and their health and wellbeing, researchers at the University of Auckland have set up a study called Life and Living in Advanced Age: a Cohort Study in New Zealand – Te Puāwaitanga O Ngā Tapuwae Kia Ora Tonu (LiLACS NZ). It is led by Professor Ngaire Kerse and Dr Lorna Dyall from The University of Auckland. It began in 2010.

The Ministry of Health provides funding to the LiLACS programme.

Aims of the LiLACS research programme

LiLACS NZ will improve the amount of information and evidence we have about New Zealanders of advanced age. The aims of the research are to:

  • describe the health status of Māori and non-Māori of advanced age
  • explore the different factors that have an effect on older people’s health
  • explore the factors that can help older people maintain their independence
  • explore how health and social services can better support older people
  • provide information for people on how to stay healthy, well, and independent as they get older.

Study participants

The study covers 937 older people living in the areas covered by the Bay of Plenty and Lakes District Health Boards.

The 421 Māori participants were aged 80–90 years and the 516 non-Māori participants were aged 85 years when the research began in 2010.

One of the strengths of the research is that the number of Māori participants is large enough to have equal explanatory power. This means that the findings from this research have the same precision for Māori as for non-Māori.

LiLACS NZ is the world’s first longitudinal study of an indigenous population aged 80 and over.

New Zealand’s older population

In 2013 there were approximately 154,300 people aged 80 years and above, and 2.8% of them were Māori.

Statistics New Zealand has estimated that between 2011 and 2026 the population of Māori aged 80 and above will grow from 4400 to 11,700. This is an increase of 166% for Māori compared to a 40% increase for non-Māori.

LiLACS NZ findings

Learn more about LiLACS NZ

Find out more about the LiLACS NZ programme at the University of Auckland’s website.

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