Dr Karen Marie Brewer

Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Auckland, 2014


Karen Brewer (née McLellan) is a speech-language therapist and kaupapa Māori researcher. With an interest in acquired speech and language disorders, Karen has worked at Waikato Hospital and as a community speech-language therapist for Counties Manukau Health. Karen completed a PhD in Speech Science at The University of Auckland in March 2014, with a thesis titled “The experiences of Māori with aphasia, their whānau members and speech-language therapists”. Her PhD supervisors were Dr Matire Harwood, Dr Sue Crengle, Dr Clare McCann (University of Auckland) and Prof Linda Worrall (University of Queensland). Karen has been awarded an Eru Pomare Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Health Research Council of New Zealand, for a project titled “A kaupapa Māori intervention for stroke-related communication disorders”. She commenced this fellowship, in the Tōmaiora Māori Health Research Unit, at the beginning of April 2014.

Research | Current

A kaupapa Māori intervention for stroke-related communication disorders. This kaupapa Māori research, employing qualitative methodologies and methods, aims to design and pilot a speech-language therapy package that will improve health and quality of life for Māori with communication disorders post-stroke. The therapy package includes an online professional development module for speech-language therapists working with Māori, a website for patient and whanau (family) information and self-directed rehabilitation, and a bilingual “Talking Mats” ™ resource for use in speech-language therapy with stroke-survivors and their whānau members. This is Karen's postdoctoral research project, funded by a Health Research Council of New Zealand Eru Pōmare Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Māori Health (2014-2020).

Te Tino Rangatiratanga o te Mate Ikura Roro (Empowering Stroke Survivors). This is a kaupapa Māori study taking place within a multi-institutional partnership between Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and The University of Auckland. The main objective is to investigate the implementation, outcomes and sustainability of a community-based initiative in which Māori stroke survivors are employed to provide peer support for other Māori stroke survivors and whānau members. Karen is a co-investigator on this project, which is funded by a Brain Research New Zealand (CoRE) Māori Small Project Grant (2017-19).

Māori leading speech-language therapy: Future directions for Aotearoa. This research is funded by a Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Seeding Grant (2019-2020). It involves a critical review of the literature, asking what Māori-focused research has been undertaken in the field of speech-language therapy, what this research tells us about the speech-language therapy needs of Māori, and what evidence there is in the broader health and education sectors for ways to address inequities or problems with speech-language therapy service provision for Māori. This will be followed by two hui with 15 Māori speech-language therapists from around Aotearoa. Drawing on the strength and experience of the participants, and guided by a kaumātua, the kaupapa of these hui will identify the priority areas for speech-language therapy that participants have observed in their whānau, communities and workplaces, and to design a research project(s) to address the need(s).

Postgraduate supervision

Rachel Tapera (2020- ongoing), Exploring the social impact of ADHD on migrant caregiversPhD, The University of Auckland.

Caroline Bartholomew (2017), An online professional development module for speech-language therapists, Master of Speech-Language Therapy Practice, The University of Auckland.

Amy Rosenfeld (2016), Southern Kāi Tahu experiences of acquired communication disorders, Master of Speech-Language Therapy Practice, The University of Auckland.

Ellen Faithfull (2015), The Experiences of Whānau and Kaiako with Speech Language Therapy in Kaupapa Māori Education, Master of Speech-Language Therapy Practice, The University of Auckland.


Eru Pōmare Research Fellowship in Māori Health (2014)

NZSTA Professor Sir Donald Beaven Memorial Award (2013)

The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia University Student Prize (2011)

NZSTA/Medical Staffing International Award for Achievement in speech-language therapy research (2011)

NZSTA Student Achievement Award (2008)

University of Auckland Faculty of Science Masters Award (2007)

University of Auckland Faculty of Science Postgraduate Tuition Fees Bursary (2006)

Committees/Professional groups/Services

New Zealand Speech-language Therapists’ Association Programme Accreditation Committee – Māori Academic role 2017 – ongoing,

New Zealand Speech-language Therapists’ Association "Māori and Cultural Development" porfolio holder 2014 - 2017.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Brewer, K., Lewis, T., Bond, C., Armstrong, E., Hill, A., Nelson, A., & Coffin, J. (2019). Maintaining cultural integrity in Australian Aboriginal and Māori qualitative research in communication disorders. In R. Lyons, L. McAllister (Eds.) Qualitative research in communication disorders: An introduction for students and clinicians (pp. 407-433). Gildford, UK: J & R Press Ltd. Related URL.
  • Penn, C., Armstrong, E., Brewer, K., Purves, B., McAllister, M., Hersh, D., ... Lewis, A. (2017). De-colonizing speech-language pathology practice in acquired neurogenic disorders. Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, 2 (SIG 2_ (3), 91-99.
  • Brewer, K. M. (2017). Clinical insights from research with New Zealand Māori. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology, 19 (1), 9-13.
  • Brewer, K. M., McCann, C. M., & Harwood, M. L. N. (2016). The complexities of designing therapy for Māori living with stroke-related communication disorders. New Zealand Medical Journal, 129 (1435), 75-82. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Clare McCann, Matire Harwood
  • Brewer, K. M., & Andrews, W. J. (2016). Foundations of equitable speech-language therapy for all: the Treaty of Waitangi and Māori health. Speech, Language and Hearing, 19 (2), 87-95. 10.1080/2050571X.2015.1122876
  • Brewer, K. M., McCann, C. M., Worrall, L. E., & Harwood, M. L. N. (2015). New Zealand speech-language therapists’ perspectives on service provision for Māori with aphasia. Speech, Language and Hearing, 18 (3), 140-147. 10.1179/2050572814Y.0000000060
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Clare McCann, Matire Harwood
  • McLellan, K. M., McCann, C. M., Worrall, L. E., & Harwood, M. L. N. (2014). Māori experiences of aphasia therapy: "But I'm from Hauiti and we've got shags". Int J Speech Lang Pathol, 16 (5), 529-540. 10.3109/17549507.2013.864334
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Matire Harwood, Clare McCann
  • Brewer, K. M., Harwood, M. L. N., McCann, C. M., Crengle, S. M., & Worrall, L. E. (2014). The use of interpretive description within kaupapa Māori research. Qualitative Health Research, 24 (9), 1287-1297. 10.1177/1049732314546002
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/30904
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Clare McCann, Matire Harwood


Contact details

Office hours

I work part-time: Monday to Thursday, 9.30am to 1.30pm.

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 507 - Bldg 507
Level 3, Room 3012
New Zealand

Web links