Liggins Institute

Womb to wellness

A public forum held on the occasion of the opening of the Liggins Institute on the redeveloped Grafton Campus of the University of Auckland  

On 29 November 2013 the Liggins Institute was officially opened on the University’s redeveloped Grafton Campus by Hon. Steven Joyce as Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment and Minister of Science and Innovation.

Following the formal event, leading NZ columnist and commentator on business, economics, creativity and innovation, Rod Oram led a public forum examining the Liggins Institute’s contributions (past, present and future) to our community’s health.

Below are video recordings of the presentations and panel discussions.

Part One: A healthy start for a healthy life

Directors of Liggins Institute programmes described aspects of the Institute’s research programmes and how these are being translated into treatments and initiatives to improve the health of our community and people throughout the world.

What makes us what we are?

How genetics, evolution, environment and culture converge to mould our development and future health.

Distinguished Professor Sir Peter Gluckman

Founding Director of the Liggins Institute, medical scientist and Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister

Watch video of Rod Oram's introduction to the forum and Sir Peter's presentation


Newborn care for lifelong health

The ongoing search for the best treatments for newborn babies, and how we are beginning to understand the implications of these treatments for health throughout life and even into the next generation


Distinguished Professor Jane Harding

Former University of Auckland Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), neonatologist and principal investigator in the Liggins Institute’s LiFePATH research group

Watch video of Professor Harding's presentation


A delicate balance

How small variations in the nutritional environment at conception, during pregnancy and at the time of birth can put our adult health at risk


Professor Wayne Cutfield

Former Liggins Institute Director and internationally recognised paediatric endocrinologist

Watch Professor Cutfield's presentation


Fuelling future health

Some less-known facts about how our bodies respond to the food we eat and why prospective parents need to be food-fit for the journey ahead

Professor David Cameron-Smith

Liggins Institute Deputy Director, Research Director and Professor of Nutrition

Watch Professor Cameron-Smith's presentation


Intervention through inspiration

The inspirational programme that is empowering teens around the world to change their communities’ health

Jacquie Bay

Leading New Zealand science educator and Director of the Liggins Education Network for Science (LENScience)

Watch Ms Bay's presentation




Questions and discussion

Liggins Institute panel members answer questions from the audience.

Watch video of discussion


Part Two: Our children and our community

An underlying motivation for the Liggins Institute’s work is to uncover and transfer knowledge that will help people to live better, healthier lives now and in the future. We believe the key to this goal is to focus on our children and young people.

In recent years children and young people have become a focus of Civic, Government and community initiatives.
For this section we invited prominent community leaders to comment on our performance and how we might best contribute to our community in the years ahead.

What is the value of the Liggins Institute, with its focus on pregnancy and early childhood, to our city?

The Mayor of Auckland, Len Brown

Auckland Council has launched The Auckland Plan, a strategy to make Auckland the world’s most liveable city. Within this, The Children and Young People’s Strategic Action Plan focuses on improving the quality of life and prospects of Aucklanders under the age of 25.

Watch video of the Mayor's presentation


What can Liggins Institute researchers do to improve outcomes for NZ’s children?

The Children’s Commissioner, Dr Russell Wills

The Office of the Children's Commissioner was established by an Act of Parliament to promote the rights, health, welfare, and well-being of children and young people between the ages of 0 and 18 years. The Office advocates for the best interests of all children and young people in New Zealand and looks to ensure all of their rights are respected and upheld.

The Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills is a practicing paediatrician who has spent many years at the frontline of child health and protection.

Watch video of Dr Wills' presentation


Why should the philanthropic community support research in New Zealand?”

Dame Jenny Gibbs

Distinguished Citizen of Auckland City, philanthropist, Liggins Institute benefactor

Watch video of Dame Jenny's presentation


Questions and discussion, concluding remarks

The presenters answer questions from the audience

Concluding remarks

Dr Paul Hutchison
MP for Hunua, Chair Parliamentary Health Committee

Professor Wayne Cutfield
Director, Liggins Institute

Watch video of discussion and concluding remarks


Report of the Parliamentary Health Committee chaired by Dr Hutchison
Inquiry into improving child health outcomes and preventing child abuse, with a focus from preconception until three years of age (Volumes 1 and 2) (I.6A) (18 November 2013)

is available on the NZ Parliament website: