Te Ira Kāwai



Te Ira Kāwai – The Auckland Regional Biobank (ARB) is a secure facility that hosts a collection of donated patient tissue samples as well as relevant clinical information regarding these samples to support ethically approved research.

Previously, these tissue samples had been discarded and were not used to aid in research progression towards cures for cancers and other diseases. However, this has now changed with the establishment of the ARB.

The ARB consists of a partnership between the University of Auckland, and all three Auckland Metropolitan District Health Boards (Auckland, Waitemata and Counties Manukau).

Dame Naida Glavish, Chief Advisor Tikanga; General Manager, He Kāmaka Waiora, for the Waitemata and Auckland District Health Boards, was instrumental in the naming of Te Ira Kāwai.

Te Ira Kāwai refers to the ARB as being the Kaitiaki (or guardian) of all donated patient tissue samples and translates to “The lifeline of descent, lineage, and pedigree”. Here, we incorporate Tikanga Māori into all our processes and acknowledge Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Tangata Whenua are involved in both governance and scientific guidance.


To find out more about Te Ira Kāwai, go to About Biobanking

“My grandmother raised me. And when someone asks me for a name, I immediately meditate to my grandmother and think, now, how would you advise me, you know, to consider this name? And it just comes. Te Ira is the DNA. Kāwai is the genealogy. 

“You go back as far as you can and come forward, even track it to the unborn child. Te Ira Kāwai is immediately a concept. When Māori use it, straight away it tells a story about your ancestry. Just those words alone – THE ancestry, YOUR ancestry — is really what that is saying.”

Naida Glavish

Professional Affiliations