Tairāwhiti Child Well-being Study

Vision & Objective

The aim of the Tairawhiti child well-being study is to create a normative database for children using advanced MRI. This database will allow us to investigate the variability in structure and function across critical organs such as the heart, lungs, brain, muscles, and bones. What makes this study unique is the use of both standard and nonstandard MRI sequences that are not typically used in clinical imaging. Furthermore, we employ specialised workflows to process the images, including computational modelling techniques that can predict function and investigate anatomical variability. 


Ultimately, this project seeks to develop predictive models of paediatric health. To achieve this goal, the study will be conducted in several phases. In the first phase, a feasibility study was carried out in TairawhitiGisborne, a rural setting of Aotearoa New Zealand to determine if such a study is possible.

World-first roadmap for imaging

In a world-first, researchers from the Mātai Medical Research Institute (Mātai) and the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI) at Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland have created a roadmap to mimic and analyse the structure and function of children’s brains, hearts, lungs and musculoskeletal systems. The models developed from this work may pave the way to benchmark normal paediatric structure and function enabling more accurate diagnoses and tailored treatment for children in New Zealand.

Example of images used for one participant. AutoBind whole body images on the right and left was used for bones and muscle, top three pictures (Cine FIESTA, DTI and T1 MPRAGE) were used to model the brain, under the brain are two pictures of the sequences (Short Axis and Zero TE) used for the heart and lungs.

See a short video of our work

Image of a lung (brown) and upper airway tree (green) of a child. This model of the lung is developed from a child’s MRI image acquired at Mātai.  

Tairāwhiti Study – World-first roadmap for imaging and modelling child physiology

University of Auckland

Want to get in touch?

Dr Hari Kumar


Leigh Potter